Textiles as Teaching Device to Prevent Cervical Cancer
Anne de Groot of GAIA Vaccine Foundation in the U.S. will use printed West African Cloth to educate women on the benefits of screening and vaccinating against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which causes cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is the second most common and lethal cancer affecting women in West Africa. This is thought to be partly due to a lack of knowledge about the causes of the disease. The patterns on clothing in West Africa often have symbolic meaning, but have not yet been exploited for health education. They have designed and field-tested a brightly colored cloth printed with images representing HPV, the cervix and cancer cells, which they will disseminate in Bamako, Mali. By combining this with a media campaign involving renowned Malian singers, they aim to encourage women to be screened for cervical cancer. The success of the campaign will be evaluated by analyzing subsequent screening rates, and surveying women exposed to the campaign for their feedback.