Assessing service availability and readiness to manage cervical cancer in Bangladesh

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Assessing service availability and readiness to manage cervical cancer in Bangladesh


JournalBMC Cancer
Article typeJournal research article – Clinical research
Publication date – Jun – 2021
Authors – Shagoofa Rakhshanda, Koustuv Dalal, Hasina Akhter Chowdhury, Cinderella Akbar Mayaboti, Progga Paromita, A. K. M. Fazlur Rahman, A. H. M. Eanayet Hussain & Saidur Rahman Mashreky
KeywordsBangladesh, cervical cancer, Service availability and readiness assessment, WHO SARA
Open access – Yes
SpecialityObstetrics and Gynaecology, Surgical oncology
World region South-eastern Asia
Country: Bangladesh
Language – English
Submitted to the One Surgery Index on June 14, 2021 at 8:20 pm
Abstract:

Background
The second most common cancer among females in Bangladesh is cervical cancer. The national strategy for cervical cancer needs monitoring to ensure that patients have access to care. In order to provide accurate information to policymakers in Bangladesh and other low and middle income countries, it is vital to assess current service availability and readiness to manage cervical cancer at health facilities in Bangladesh.

Methods
An interviewer-administered questionnaire adapted from the World Health Organization Service Availability and Readiness Assessment Standard Tool was used to collect cross-sectional data from health administrators of 323 health facilities in Bangladesh. Services provided were categorized into domains and service readiness was determined by mean readiness index (RI) scores. Data analysis was conducted using STATA version 13.

Results
There were seven tertiary and specialized hospitals, 118 secondary level health facilities, 124 primary level health facilities, and 74 NGO/private hospitals included in the study. Twenty-six per cent of the health facilities provided services to cancer patients. Among the 34 tracer items used to assess cancer management capacity of health facilities, four cervical cancer-specific tracer items were used to determine service readiness for cervical cancer. On average, tertiary and specialized hospitals surpassed the readiness index cutoff of 70% with adequate staff and training (100%), equipment (100%), and diagnostic facilities (85.7%), indicating that they were ready to manage cervical cancer. The mean RI scores for the rest of the health facilities were below the cutoff value, meaning that they were not prepared to provide adequate cervical cancer services.

Conclusion
The health facilities in Bangladesh (except for some tertiary hospitals) lack readiness in cervical cancer management in terms of guidelines on diagnosis and treatment, training of staff, and shortage of equipment. Given that cervical cancer accounts for more than one-fourth of all female cancers in Bangladesh, management of cervical cancer needs to be available at all levels of health facilities, with primary level facilities focusing on early diagnosis. It is recommended that appropriate standard operating procedures on cervical cancer be developed for each level of health facilities to contribute towards attaining sustainable developmental goals.

OSI Number – 21128

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