Noncommunicable diseases and their risk factors

New toolkit to improve collection and use of data in cervical cancer programmes

Geneva, 4 February 2019 -- On World Cancer Day 2019, WHO launches a new toolkit to guide countries in the collection and use of standardised data on cervical cancer, to support them in addressing this great threat to women’s health. Every year, cervical cancer kills over 300,000 women, more than 85% of these deaths occur in less developed regions of the world. Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable and treatable forms of cancer, as long as it is detected early and managed effectively. High-quality and timely data are essential for comprehensive cervical cancer control programmes and under-pin effective policy-making.

“It is unacceptable that every two minutes one woman dies of cervical cancer in a world where we have the proven solutions to prevent and treat this disease” says WHO Assistant Director-General for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health, Dr Svetlana Axelrod. “The WHO’s Improving Data for Decision-making toolkit will support countries in collecting and using high-quality data to inform, plan, scale up and improve cervical cancer programmes. With data on screening coverage and uptake, interventions can be employed to make sure no woman is left behind. Strong data systems will support global efforts to make this cancer a disease of the past.”

Improving Data for Decision-making: A Toolkit for Cervical Cancer Prevention and Control Programmes

The development of the Improving Data for Decision-making toolkit was rooted in understanding the landscape of cervical cancer prevention and control programmes across the globe. Contributions to this understanding came from international subject matter experts, as well as from the field experiences of experts in sub-Saharan Africa, Central and Latin America, and Asia.

Cervical cancer burden, prevention strategies and programmes vary from country to country; however, there are several common questions which can be answered using the five sections of this toolkit:

How do we identify opportunities for strengthening country data and data systems?

Toolkit Section 1: Rapid Situational Assessment of Data and Data Systems provides the tools and guiding information necessary for countries to understand the landscape of data and data systems available in their setting. This assessment enables identification of opportunities which can be leveraged to develop and strengthen data systems. Countries participating in the development of the toolkit have used findings from these assessments to advocate for inclusion of cervical cancer data in national systems, as well as for national standardisation of data tools and processes.

How do we measure population coverage of cervical cancer screening and secondary prevention?

Toolkit Section 2: Population-based Survey Modules provides validated sample questions which can be included in existing population-based surveys to obtain vital information about the coverage and utilisation of cervical cancer services. Data generated from these questions has informed programmatic decision-making around the need for awareness generation activities, barriers to accessing services, as well as regional gaps in service availability.

How do we implement and strengthen systems to routinely monitor patients and programmes?

Toolkit Section 3: Patient and Programme Monitoring provides principles and tools to guide the establishment or strengthening of data systems and processes designed to enable programme monitoring, in addition to the clinical monitoring and management of patients. The information presented in this section has been used to establish nationally standardised data collection and reporting tools and processes. Providers and supervisors have been trained on the collection and use of data critical to patient and programme monitoring.

How can we systematically assess facilities for service readiness, service availability, and service quality?

Toolkit Section 4: Facility-based Surveys supports professionals in conducting facility readiness assessments, and carrying out the service quality-oriented supportive supervision process. The resources in this section have supported the development of national quality improvement processes. Information gathered using the tools has been used in planning for introduction and scale-up of cervical cancer services, and in subsequent advocacy around necessary resources.

How do we estimate costs of cervical cancer screening & treatment programmes?

Toolkit Section 5: Prevention and Control Costing: Analysis and Planning Module for Screening and Treatment is primarily for use by trained facilitators. This tool has been used to plan and cost national cervical cancer control plans in the context of service scale-up. Additionally, the supporting information has been used as a reference for micro-planning within limited-scope programmes.


The Improving Data for Decision-making: A Toolkit for Cervical Cancer Prevention and Control Programmes publication is the primary product of a project made possible through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to the National Foundation for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC Foundation). The project was implemented from 2014-2017 by a consortium of partners – the CDC Foundation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the George W. Bush Institute (Bush Institute), and the World Health Organization (WHO).