Thailand

Harnessing technology to deliver better care for women in Thailand

Pattani Public Health Office Collaborates with Mission Leapfrog to Revolutionize Cervical Cancer Screening

The longstanding challenge

The Pattani Public Health Office has taken a groundbreaking step in public health by launching Thailand’s first “Home-based HPV Self-collection screening’ program in partnership with ‘Mission Leapfrog’, ‘Thailand Post’ and ‘Loreal’. This is the first initiative of its kind in Thailand, aimed to address the issue of low cervical cancer screening rates, particularly among Muslim women in Pattani Province. This innovative collaboration aims to overcome cultural, religious, and logistical barriers that have hindered early detection and treatment.

Cervical cancer remains a significant concern in Pattani Province, located in Thailand’s southern region. A 2018 report from the National Cancer Institute Thailand highlighted that the province faces alarmingly low screening rates, leading to late-stage diagnoses and reduced chances of survival for many patients. Driven by an earnest commitment to change this trajectory, the Pattani Public Health Office has partnered with the Mission Leapfrog team to design a transformative solution.

Why is cervical cancer screening important for women?

Cervical cancer accounts for one in four cancers among women, killing over 340,000 people globally each year. Often referred to as a silent killer, cervical cancer may take years to develop. However, once symptoms are present, it is often too late to treat. Prevention, screening and early treatment are vital to save lives.

All women are at risk of cervical cancer, but is most common in women over 30. When found early and managed effectively, cervical cancer is preventable, treatable, curable, and associated with long-term quality of life.

Why women overlook their life-threatening risk

Key challenges identified by the local cervical cancer working group include religious beliefs and sometimes misconceptions that deter women from getting screened, the time-consuming nature of in-facility screenings, and the financial constraints faced by women who are often the sole breadwinners of their families.

Together we can

Despite Thailand’s established national screening program and the integration of advanced screening techniques like HPV DNA self-collection under the Universal Health Coverage (UHC), Pattani Province’s unique challenges necessitated a fresh approach. The success of the Covid-19 Tuk-Tuk project in 2020, a collaboration between the Pattani Public Health Office and the Mission Leapfrog team, set the stage for their current partnership. This time, Mission Leapfrog has taken on the role of a technical advisor, contributing expertise in disease awareness programs and digital solutions.

Who is Mission Leapfrog? 

Mission Leapfrog is a collaboration between the pharmaceutical company Roche Thailand and ecosystem partners to accelerate transformation in healthcare outcomes that improve the lives of people and strengthens society. Systemic challenges like poor uptake of cervical cancer screening require systemic solutions. No single organisation can solve the complex problems that weave through healthcare ecosystems.  In partnership with people across the region, Mission Leaprog can find new ways to expand access, improve outcomes and provide more options for people affected by diseases and healthcare gaps.

The new hope- Home based HPV Self-collection

The “Home-based HPV Self-collection screening’ project simplifies the screening process, making it accessible, private and convenient for eligible women. The process involves signing up via the LINE application, confirming the address with a nurse, receiving a self-collection kit at home, and sending the collected sample back to Pattani Hospital through Thailand Post within 24 hours. Results are delivered digitally via the LINE application within 7-14 days.

 

“We envision this new model will not only improve the rates of screening, but will also serving as a source of learning and insights for neighboring provinces and the NHSO,” remarked a representative from the Public Health Office. The project’s ultimate goal is to enhance the efficiency and accessibility of cervical cancer screening programs, enabling more individuals in the region to benefit from early detection and treatment.

Registration for the pilot project is open until the end of September or until the quota of 500 women is reached. Interested individuals can sign up via LINE ID @575cbnid and scan the provided QR Code. Women who may be eligible are those between the ages of 30-60, and who have not had a cervical screening test in the last 5 years or never been screened before. We encourage all women who meet this criteria to apply for this new service and ask that those women who are successfully enrolled return the sample and do not waste the resources of Pattani Public Health Organisation. For further information, individuals are encouraged to contact their local sub-district hospital or Health Volunteers in their area.

The longstanding challenge

The Pattani Public Health Office has taken a groundbreaking step in public health by launching Thailand’s first “Home-based HPV Self-collection screening’ program in partnership with ‘Mission Leapfrog’, ‘Thailand Post’ and ‘Loreal’. This is the first initiative of its kind in Thailand, aimed to address the issue of low cervical cancer screening rates, particularly among Muslim women in Pattani Province. This innovative collaboration aims to overcome cultural, religious, and logistical barriers that have hindered early detection and treatment.

Moving forward

As the collaborative efforts continue to unfold, this initiative stands as a beacon of hope not only for Pattani Province but also for communities facing similar challenges across the nation. The partnership between the Pattani Public Health Office and the Mission Leapfrog team underscores the transformative power of collaboration, innovation, and a shared commitment to public well-being.

Other Regions

  • Philippines

    The implementation of the Universal Healthcare law in 2019 accelerated the healthcare reform in the country. With its implementation, key opportunities and challenges were identified in revitalizing the healthcare system. However, the COVID-19 pandemic brought to light additional gaps as more healthcare resources were shifted to address COVID cases. While Universal Health Care aims to achieve equitable access to quality and affordable health care services for all Filipinos, access to basic primary healthcare services in remote communities remains to be a challenge.

    Read more