Puspanita patron launches Phase 3 Eitqa’s free cervical screening programme

PHASE 3 of the free cervical screening programme – which is funded by Etiqa and implemented by the ROSE Foundation (Removing Obstacles to Cervical Screenings) –has officially been launched by PUSPANITA (Wives of civil servants and women civil servants association) patron Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Dr Wan Ismail.

The one-year nationwide programme is worth RM1.22 mil, and aims to screen 5,500 eligible women aged 30 to 65 from identified B40 communities.

ROSE’s innovative cervical screening approach offers a simple self-swab that is quick, simple, and painless, which is unlike the conventional pap test.

Samples are then sent to the ROSE laboratory for human papillomavirus (HPV) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, with the results communicated via SMS within three weeks. For women who tested positive for HPV, the ROSE Contact Center will further refer them to government hospitals for follow-up.

The screened women in rural or interior areas, however, may decline treatment for various reasons, such as concerns about the cost of treatment or the distance to the nearest government hospital and the expense of travelling there.

Realising this, Phase 3 of Etiqa and the ROSE Foundation introduces on-site colposcopy treatment for those women for whom it can be performed in these communities.

The immediate onsite treatment includes an initial assessment using a mobile colposcopy device that produces high quality images of the cervix.

The device can be connected to a smartphone for easy visualisation and to support remote consultation if required. Upon assessment, patients with a pre-cancer virus will be treated at the location using a portable thermal coagulator.

ROSE Foundation chairman Professor Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman expresses her delight upon the introduction of the Mobile Colposcopy equipment that enables the volunteer medical teams to travel to rural or interior communities and treat women screened for HPV-positive; with this new equipment, they can receive appropriate support, treatment, and care.

Apart from providing innovative solutions to detecting pre-cancer-causing HPV viruses in women, the programme will now empower women to get themselves treated, which will eventually help to save more lives.

The event was graced by Dr Wan Azizah. Also present at the event were Maybank Ageas Holdings Bhd chairman Datuk R. Karunakaran, Etiqa Life Insurance Bhd CEO Paul Low Hong Ceong, Dr Adeeba, ROSE Foundation founder and trustee Professor Dr Woo Yin Ling and PUSPANITA Yang DiPertua Puan Seri To’ Puan Seri Norizam.

Launched in July 2019, Phases 1 and 2 of the programme have screened a total of 13,500 women from identified B40 communities in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak. Through it, more than 800 women tested positive for the virus and subsequently were referred to the nearest hospital for treatment before it potentially progressed into cervical cancer. – Jan 11, 2023

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