Malaysia can achieve WHO targets in cervical screening

14 Jan 2019 / 19:20 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is well placed to achieve the targets set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in eliminating cervical cancer, Health Minister Datuk Dzulkefly Ahmad said today.

“We have already achieved greater than 90% HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) vaccination rates among adolescent girls,“ he said at the launch of ROSE (Removing Obstacles to Cervical screening) programme.

“We will now work towards screening 70% of eligible woman between 35 and 45 years with an HPV test and offering them the appropriate treatment.”

The HPV test is to detect cancer-causing DNA in cervical cells. The government has provided a number of provisions for women to undergo a cervical cancer screening test.

Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail urged women aged 30 and above to undergo HPV DNA screening.

“The test uses a small brush or spatula to collect a sample of cells from the surface of the cervix and it is not painful since the cells are taken only from the surface,“ she said.

ROSE is an innovation by Universiti Malaya (UM) and VCS foundation (VCSF) of Australia designed for Malaysian women to remove challenges faced such as fear, embarrassment and discomfort associated with Pap tests. It is to encourage willing participation in cervical cancer screenings.

With ROSE, women can perform a self-sampling test instead of scheduling a pelvic examination from a healthcare professional.

The results and follow-ups can then be tracked and communicated through a mobile application called canSCREEN, a population health management platform.

According to Prof Dr Woo Yee Ling, consultant obsterician and gynecologist at UM, who headed the programme, ROSE embodies safety, privacy and dignity through self-sampling.

It encourages more women to willingly participate in screenings, she added.