Advancing Universal Health Coverage through Cervical Cancer Prevention & Family Planning Integration: A Call to Action

This Sunday is International Women’s Day, a global day to celebrate the achievements of women. At TogetHER for Health, we’re celebrating the lives of women at the frontline of the fight against cervical cancer. Women who are mothers, health workers, advocates, doctors, publishers, church leaders and students. Women who are battling cancer, who talk about cervical cancer prevention in their communities, who treat women with the disease, who research new technologies to prevent cancer, who support their sisters and mothers in their fight against cervical cancer.  In short, women who work every day, day in and day out, to eliminate this cancer. 

Lakshmi is one such woman.  At 48 years old, she lives in a village outside Delhi where she is the sole breadwinner in her family, supporting her husband and children. Lakshmi was diagnosed with cervical precancer at a screening camp in her village, and with the support of her daughter, sought treatment. Today she advocates with the women of her community to seek care and encourages them to fight the shame that is too often associated with cervical cancer. 

One of the key reasons Lakshmi was able to find and treat her precancer was the availability of services in her village. That is why the delivery of comprehensive sexual and reproductive services—before, during and after a woman’s child bearing years—is one of the best ways we can support women like Lakshmi. Too often, women access services such as family planning but walk away without education or services to prevent cervical cancer. We must work to ensure women like Lakshmi receive better care than this. 

That’s why we’ve joined with leading organizations in global health to issue a Call to Action, “Advancing Universal Health Coverage through Cervical Cancer Prevention & Family Planning Integration”.  In this document, we outline concrete steps that the global community must take to advance integration and ensure comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services for women. And the impact of such an investment can be astounding—improved uptake of voluntary family planning and increased coverage of cervical cancer prevention services. 

We invite you to join us in pushing for integrated family planning and cervical cancer care.  This International Women’s Day, let’s work together to improve the health of women around the world.

If you’d like your organization listed as a signatory, please contact us at info@togetherforhealth.org

You can learn more about Lakshmi and other women that are turning the tide in the fight against cervical cancer by checking out our video series, Faces of Hope.