• Prevention and treatment

    Cervical Cancer


Timeframe: 2011-present
IMA’s Role: Lead Agency
Partners: Shirati KMT HospitalBugando Medical Center

About the project

Providing early detection and treatment in Tanzania

Cervical cancer, already a threat in Tanzania, is projected to become even more entrenched over the next decade. Globally, deaths will likely rise 25 percent during the next 10 years, according to the World Health Organization.

Sobering news for Tanzania, the burden of cervical cancer is already among the world’s highest – being 50 percent higher than all East Africa and nine times higher than North America and Europe. Fortunately, cervical cancer is nearly 100 percent curable if caught in its early stages.


IMA is working to stop cervical cancer in Tanzania through prevention, screening, and treatment for those diagnosed early in partnership with Lutheran World Relief. Together, IMA and LWR are expanding this effort and ensuring that women that require more advanced intervention at a larger medical facility receive free transportation and lodging for the duration of their treatment. In addition, women will be paired with a patient navigator that will guide them through the medical system.

Targeting an area where the need was most dire, IMA selected Tanzania’s Mara region to address cervical cancer because HIV is surging there – rising from 3.5 percent in 2003-2004 to 7.7 percent in 2007-2008. Being HIV positive increases the risk of developing cervical cancer by at least 50 percent and hastens onset of the disease by as much as 10 years.

Project objectives

  • Develop materials and conduct community awareness activities on the importance of screening and early detection
  • Train health workers on proper screening techniques
  • Provide essential equipment and screening supplies to partner facilities
  • Conduct cervical cancer screenings using the visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) approach and provide cryotherapy treatment on the same day
  • Provide referrals and counseling as necessary

Key achievements

Between August 2011 and May 2018, IMA screened 23,214 women between 30 and 40 years of age.

We have also:

  • Treated 1,369 VIA-positive women for cervical cancer the same day they were diagnosed.
  • Trained 76 health care workers in screening techniques using the visual inspection with acetic acid approach and providing early diagnosis and cryotherapy treatment.
  • Developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare national information, education, and communication materials to raise community awareness about the importance of screening and early treatment.
  • Built a cancer database so doctors can understand which women have been screened and treated for cervical cancer at their facilities.

As we screened for cervical cancer, our program also advocated checking for breast cancer. The result: We referred 111 women for further breast cancer testing and treatment.

Save a woman's life

With your help, we can train health workers on proper screening techniques, provide essential equipment and screening supplies, provide referrals and counseling when necessary, and develop materials and community activities that will create awareness on the importance of screening and early detection. Please give women access to lifesaving screening, testing and treatment in the fight against cervical cancer.