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PATH is working to ensure that women in the developing world have the tools and resources to protect themselves from cervical cancer, PATH experts told a group of health professionals in a recent discussion about global health challenges. On April 28, nearly 20 global health professionals joined PATH in our Washington, DC, office for a conversation about the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cervical cancer, which kills almost 250,000 women each year. The event was part of PATH’s Conversations in Global Health series to share challenges and lessons learned on critical global health topics.

The panelists included Dr. Jose Jeronimo, director of our START-UP (Screening Technologies to Advance Rapid Testing—Utility and Program Planning) project; Dr. Aisha Jumaan, director of our HPV Vaccines: Evidence for Impact project; and Dr. Vivien Tsu, associate director of our Reproductive Health global program. Michelle Folsom, senior program advisor, moderated the forum, during which participants asked questions and shared their own knowledge and experiences.

Utilizing innovative diagnostic tools

PATH is implementing diagnostic tools in key developing countries to easily and affordably diagnose human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes most cervical cancer. New diagnostic tests that are effective, safe, and easy to use in developing-world settings are needed, Dr. Jeronimo said. Early detection and screening can prevent unnecessary death from cervical cancer.

Prevention with the HPV vaccine

Dr. Jumaan spoke about PATH’s work to implement HPV vaccination programs around the world. She pointed to the importance of educating communities about the risks of HPV and cervical cancer and the vaccine’s potential for protecting girls from illness. It’s vital to integrate the vaccine into school programs and communities to alleviate misconceptions, she said.

Worldwide global health concern

With diagnostic tools and a vaccine available, PATH works to ensure that women have access to preventive care for HPV and cervical cancer around the world. PATH is using innovative solutions to address the barriers to care and treatment that many women face in low-resource settings, Dr. Tsu said.

More about Conversations in Global Health

PATH’s Conversations in Global Health series is held in Washington, DC, and is open to all members of the global health community. To learn about future Conversations in Global Health, please emaildcevents@path.org.

More about our work in cervical cancer

Posted May 17, 2010.