The Importance of Partnerships

The partnership between the Kedougou Regional Health System, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the U.S. Peace Corps created a cervical cancer screening program in the far southeastern rural region of Kedougou, Senegal.

This partnership aims to build human resource capacity and to increase uptake of cervical cancer services through a train-the-trainer approach, using the visual inspection of the cervix with acetic acid (VIA) technique. This approach was proven affordable and effective in low-resource settings. VIA costs much less than pap tests, requires less advanced technology and midwives can be trained to perform it.
Through a train-the-trainer model, we are teaching midwives to perform VIA in six health districts throughout the Kedougou region. We are using a stakeholder evaluation approach to establish ongoing participation in the partnership.

The benefits of the program are highlighted by the participants’ thoughts shared below:

“The trainings and the techniques we learn.” – Sage Femme

“Ability to address problems in the health system.” – District Health Officer

“To know our health.” – Community Member

“Relationship building.” – Peace Corps Volunteer

“Addressing cervical cancer through a prevention strategy by working with large population to prevent cervical cancer.” – Health Leader


About the image. The image shows the team collaborating on this global health project in Senegal.



Karen Peters is a professor of community health sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health where she teaches global health and policy analysis at the undergraduate and doctoral levels. She began working in Senegal in 2010 and also conducts research in Colombia and with rural populations across the US. Her interests include competitive fresh and saltwater fishing,  hiking and playing the bass guitar.