Corporates join Government to Fight Cervical Cancer

Futures Group has partnered with global information technology leader IBM and the Government of Kenya to address cervical cancer needs of women in Kenya, which has become a major public health concern. According to statistics cited in Kenya's National Cervical Cancer Prevention Program Strategic Plan 2012-2015, cervical cancer is second most common cancer after breast cancer among Kenyan women, and the most common cause of cancer-related deaths. Cervical Cancer is easily detectable and curable in its early stages, making proper screening and early treatment all the more important.

Cervical cancer was named a priority non-communicable disease by the national Ministry of Health. In response to this need, the Kenyan Ministry of Health has identified as a goal a 70 percent screening rate for all eligible women in the next five years. Currently, it is estimated that only 3.2 percent of women aged 18-69 years have been screened in any three year period in Kenya.

In response to this need, the Kenyan Ministry of Health developed a strategic plan for cervical cancer prevention focusing on information management. Under the Futures Group Kenya HMIS project, IBM's Corporate Service Corps offered assistance for the month of June developing recommendations to close cervical cancer information gaps. The collaborative efforts of the Kenyan Ministry of Health, Futures Group and IBM bring us one step closer to the shared vision of improving cervical cancer awareness and screening in Kenya.

Merging the field experience of Futures Group health informatics experts and the technical expertise of IBM researchers, the partners developed a new framework for cervical cancer data collection to improve reliability and eventually integrate into the national health information systems.

Following a request from the Ministry of Health, Futures Group and IBM are working to scale up the regional cancer registry to a national level. As part of this effort, Futures Group is working with leadership at the Kenya Division of Reproductive Health to champion the standardization of national cervical cancer indicators. This project is in line with the stated goals of the National Cancer Institute to track all cancer cases in the entire country. The contributions of Futures Group and IBM are building on efforts in both Nairobi and Eldoret regions by the Kenya Medical Research Institute and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Research and Public Health Collaboration.

Other major efforts under Futures Group's Kenya HMIS project are geared towards the implementation of electronic cervical cancer tracking tools, design of mobile applications that support patient tracking in remote and hard to reach areas, and integration of IQCare, a nationally-preferred electronic medical record system that streamlines health data into the national health information reporting system, DHIS2.

Because of these enhanced systems, the Government of Kenya will not only be able to monitor progress towards their cervical cancer screening goals, but they will also be able to monitor the impact of their health programs and shape health policy to better meet the needs of the Kenyan people.

Courtesy of All Africa News, 2013.