Right to Care

We are training health professionals in developing countries with alternatives to pap smears for the early detection of reproductive cancers.


At the Right to Care clinic at Helen Joseph Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa, cervical cancer rates are five times higher among HIV-positive women, primarily because of co-infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV). Cervical cancer is the most prevalent cancer in women of sub-Saharan Africa, with 60 to 80 percent of women living with HIV also infected with HPV.

While pap smears are effective in early detection in developed countries, they are cost prohibitive in developing countries. Helen Joseph Hospital has been using alternative methods such as Large Loop Excision of the Transformation Zone (LLETZ), and Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid and Camera (VIAC) that allow for screening, diagnosis and treatment by freezing abnormal cells.


This Right to Care project will allow physicians and nurses from countries like Ethiopia, Swaziland and South Africa, to receive training in pap smear alternatives for dealing with cervical cancer. Through the project, health professionals will receive orientation and hands-on training in LLETZ and VIAC.

A counselor and nurse will help train providers in program coordination and provide quality assurance and technical support. Additional cervical and breast cancer screening services will be established at up to two sites in Ethiopia and Swaziland, with a third site in South Africa.