Dr. Valarie Paz-Soldan

On Friday we met Dr. Valarie Paz-Soldan, a professor in the Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences at Tulane University in the school of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Dr. Paz-Soldan has worked extensively to examine the barriers to accessing cervical cancer screening in Peru.

The three main issues with access to women receiving adequate diagnosis and treatment for cervical cancer are 1) Coverage 2) Follow-up and 3) Links between components. Outside of Lima, pap smear coverage is estimated to be only about 30-51% with access to colposcopy and treatment even lower. Without the facilities to process biopsy results and the full range of diagnostic tests, a lot of rural clinics send their samples to Lima and wait for results. The separation of time and space causes a disconnect for patient follow-up and ensuring patient’s get the treatment they need.

Learning from Dr. Paz-Soldan reminded us that developing a portable and affordable colposcope is just a piece of the puzzle, a part of the larger multifaceted solution to reducing the mortality rates of cervical cancer.

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