Research article Special Issues

Choropleth Mapping of Cervical Cancer Screening in South Africa Using Healthcare Facility-level Data from the National Laboratory Network

  • Received: 06 August 2016 Accepted: 14 October 2016 Published: 19 October 2016
  • Background: In South Africa, cervical cancer remains among the most common cancers and a leading cause of cancer death. Co-infection with HIV increases the risk of developing cervical pre-cancer and cancer. We analysed National Health Laboratory Service cervical cytology data to investigate geographic variations of Pap smear coverage, quality, and high grade lesions. Methods: Facility-level data were extracted from the NHLS for April 2013–March 2014. We present results and choropleth maps detailing coverage, adequacy and high-grade Pap smear cytology abnormalities defined as Pap smears suspicious for invasive carcinoma, high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSIL) or atypical squamous cells: cannot exclude HSIL (ASC-H). Results: 4,562 facilities submitted 791,067 cytology slides. The interquartile range (IQR) for Pap smear coverage among HIV-infected women was 26–41%; similar to coverage in women aged 30 and older (IQR: 26–42%). 6/52 districts had adequacy rates above the national standard (70%) and 2/52 districts had adequacy rates below 35%. We observed marked variation in Pap smear abnormalities across the country, with the proportion of high-grade cytology abnormalities ≥0.3% in 17/52 districts.Conclusion: Using district-level choropleth maps, we are able to display variations in Pap smear coverage, quality, and results across South Africa. This approach may be used to improve resource allocation, achieving better equity in cervical cancer prevention.

    Citation: Caroline B T Makura, Kathryn Schnippel, Pamela Michelow, Carla J. Chibwesha, Bridgette Goeieman, Suzette Jordaan, Cynthia Firnhaber. Choropleth Mapping of Cervical Cancer Screening in South Africa Using Healthcare Facility-level Data from the National Laboratory Network[J]. AIMS Public Health, 2016, 3(4): 849-862. doi: 10.3934/publichealth.2016.4.849

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  • Background: In South Africa, cervical cancer remains among the most common cancers and a leading cause of cancer death. Co-infection with HIV increases the risk of developing cervical pre-cancer and cancer. We analysed National Health Laboratory Service cervical cytology data to investigate geographic variations of Pap smear coverage, quality, and high grade lesions. Methods: Facility-level data were extracted from the NHLS for April 2013–March 2014. We present results and choropleth maps detailing coverage, adequacy and high-grade Pap smear cytology abnormalities defined as Pap smears suspicious for invasive carcinoma, high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSIL) or atypical squamous cells: cannot exclude HSIL (ASC-H). Results: 4,562 facilities submitted 791,067 cytology slides. The interquartile range (IQR) for Pap smear coverage among HIV-infected women was 26–41%; similar to coverage in women aged 30 and older (IQR: 26–42%). 6/52 districts had adequacy rates above the national standard (70%) and 2/52 districts had adequacy rates below 35%. We observed marked variation in Pap smear abnormalities across the country, with the proportion of high-grade cytology abnormalities ≥0.3% in 17/52 districts.Conclusion: Using district-level choropleth maps, we are able to display variations in Pap smear coverage, quality, and results across South Africa. This approach may be used to improve resource allocation, achieving better equity in cervical cancer prevention.
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    © 2016 the Author(s), licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)
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