Cervical cancer screening is expected to improve at the Korle Bu Polyclinic with the acquisition of colposcope equipment and training of colposcopists. The colposcope equipment provides an enlarged view of the cervix, allowing the colposcopist to visually distinguish normal from abnormal tissues.
Its main goal is to prevent cervical cancer by detecting pre-cancerous lacerations early in order to treat them. The purchase of the portable equipment was facilitated by a Ghanaian based in the United Kingdom, Dr Theodora Pepera, a consultant obstetrician, gynaecologist and colposcopist and funded by the International Organisation on Migration (IOM).
Presenting the equipment, Dr Pepera said her focus for coming to Ghana was to build the capacity of colposcopists. However, she said she realised that there were virtually no colposcopists in the country so she decided to voluntarily train some doctors.
She said the colposcopy procedure was not replacing the pap smear routine of screening for cervical cancer but an advance form of screening for the disease.
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Cervical cancer, according to Dr Pepera, was the leading cause of cancer death among women in the world, hence the need to adopt easier, accessible and effective ways to detect the disease at its early stage to facilitate treatment.
Considering the fact that some people flew to South Africa for the colposcopy test, she said the equipment and trained doctors at the Korle Bu Polyclinic would provide a preventive service to help improve the health of women.
Dr Pepera said it was important for women to be tested at least every three years for cervical cancer because the disease developed within a period of 10 years.
The Head of the Korle Bu Polyclinic, Dr David Nii Narh Nortey, said four doctors at the polyclinic and one nurse had been trained so far on the use of the colposcopy. The trained doctors and the nurse are yet to be certified as colposcopists.
He said even though a number of health facilities in the country had the colposcopy equipment they were unable to use them since there were no colposcopists to handle them.
The vision of the clinic, he said, was to ultimately become a colposcopy training centre for primary care providers in Ghana and to broaden the scope of services and enhance the development of special interest areas in primary clinical care.