This publication summarizes the outcomes of the Care4Afrique project aiming to implement cervical cancer screening and treatment in three focus countries in Francophone sub-Saharan Africa – Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, and Senegal – by IARC in close collaboration with the ministries of health of the countries and the Lalla Salma Foundation for Cancer Prevention and Treatment (Morocco). The project highlights solutions to integrate cervical cancer screening and treatment services into routine primary health-care services and overcome some of the common system-level barriers to implementation that are faced in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa. A total of 16 530 women underwent opportunistic screening at primary health centres, and the majority of the screen-positive women were managed at the same facilities.
The Care4Afrique project demonstrated that implementation of screening by visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) followed by immediate treatment with thermal ablation in primary health-care services is feasible in these resource-constrained settings provided there is strong leadership, active stakeholder engagement, and meticulous attention to the quality of services at all levels. This project provides an implementation model that other countries may emulate and thus remain aligned with the WHO strategy to eliminate cervical cancer as a public health problem globally.