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From Innovation to Impact: Odisha's Pioneering Effort in Cervical Cancer Screening

Following the successful and ground breaking demonstration of Cervical cancer screening in the slum and urban areas for Cuttack using HPV DNA ‘self-care’ sampling approach, National Health Mission, Government of Odisha with technical support from Norway India Partnership Initiative (NIPI) has rolled out the second phase in the District Bhubaneshwar, Odisha. The approach uses non-invasive technique coupled with high sensitivity identifies presence of high-risk HPV amongst women.

An orientation meeting was organised at Pokhariput, UPHC, Bhubaneswar under the chairpersonship of Additional Director, Government of Odisha attended by Senior Health officials from NHM Odisha along with various key stakeholders, Public Health Managers, NIPI representatives and frontline workers (ASHAs, ANMs). 14 participants were oriented in the meeting.

The Additional Director, Government of Odisha shared the results from the demonstration pilot in Cuttack and stressed on the need to complete the demonstration with the stipulated timelines. He also highlighted the role of community health workers and adopting various communication strategies for screening and identification and ensuring treatment of identified positives.

Mr Dipak Biswal, State Innovation Officer-NIPI, outlined the project's various components, elucidating the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders at all levels and introducing incentives for sample collection and transportation. The crucial importance of early identification for successful cervical cancer treatment was acknowledged. An animated video presentation was presented to guide beneficiaries on sample collection procedures, emphasizing the significance of careful handling, storage and transportation.

Recognizing the pivotal role of frontline health workers and other service providers in minimizing fear and stigma associated with cancer, communication strategies were highlighted. The project operates in collaboration with the Acharya Harihar Post Graduate Institute of Cancer (AHPGIC), City Program Management Unit (CPMU) and the Department of Biochemistry, SCB MCH, Cuttack. The implementation lessons learnt from initial phase in Cuttack will contribute towards further enhancing efficient implementation in Bhubaneswar. NIPI is providing crucial techno-managerial support to NHM in the successful implementation this pilot project.