MALSCOT visit to Malawi, 16th September – 10th October

10 October 2022

A guest post by Professor Heather Cubie on behalf of MALSCOT.

The Scottish team in MALSCOT set off in excitement on 16th September after 3 years of being unable to visit our colleagues in Nkhoma CCAP Hospital and elsewhere.

Despite the challenges of covid, the Malawian teams have achieved a tremendous amount, taking ownership of screening provision, under the expert guidance of our national co-ordinator, Beatrice Kabota. Now there are 7 hubs providing daily cervical screening services through VIA along with same day thermal ablation treatment for early pre-cancers and biopsy taking for suspicious cancers. They have also set up and progressed with 33 spokes some of which are very remote and, under their own initiative, reached even further into rural communities with periodic outreach clinics, sometimes integrating with services for the ‘under fives’ and sometimes with services for women living with HIV.

We were bowled over by the commitment and pride of the providers, as witnessed by the high attendance at Regional meetings...

... thrilled by the welcome singing and dancing...

... and humbled by the high standard of service being provided throughout, including to very remote villages...

We were delighted to be able to present over 100 MoH & MALSCOT Certificates of Competence in Cervical Cancer Screening and Treatment at meetings in Northern, Central and Southern Regions.

This programme has shown conclusively how far a relatively modest investment of supportive funding and education over several years can go in achieving wide coverage of a desperately needed service and towards achieving the WHO goal of elimination of cervical cancer by 2030.

Heather Cubie, on behalf of Christine Campbell (lead), Isabel Bruce, Wendy Mc Mullen and Miriam Deeny.