Examining policy cohesion for cervical cancer worldwide: analysis of WHO country reports
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INTRODUCTION: Cervical cancer is controllable through appropriate interventions such as vaccination, screening, treatment, early diagnosis and palliative care. The greatest burden of cervical cancer lies in low-income countries (LIC) where most of these services are missing or developed asymmetrically. Indeed, it is important to have not just an expansion, but a symmetric and concordant development of each service. Therefore, policies of countries should be aligned to provide concordant services and achieve the best outcomes with available resources. This is called 'policy cohesion' and for the first time in literature we will analyse cervical cancer policy coherence in all the 194 WHO member states. METHODS: The study is based on the 2017 WHO Non-Communicable Disease Country Capacity Surveys (NCD CCS). Although the survey covers multiple non-communicable diseases, in this report we will only discuss those results pertaining to cervical cancer, analysing the cervical cancer policy cohesion of 194 WHO member states, divided by WHO region and World Bank income group. RESULTS: Human papilloma virus vaccination exists in 53% of countries. 76% of countries offer cervical screening: among these countries, treatment, early diagnosis guidelines and palliative care are missing in 13%, 13% and 40%, respectively. In the African region, this discord is even more profound: 32%, 17% and 60%, respectively. CONCLUSION: Especially in those settings where resources are limited, early detection guidelines, treatment and palliative care should be implemented along with secondary prevention strategies. Symmetric development of concordant cervical cancer services maximises cervical cancer control efficacy.