CATSystem (Cancer Tracking System)
– How the CATSystem is Improving Cervical Cancer Care and Research in Kenya –
Cervical cancer (CC) is one of the most common and deadly cancers among women in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), especially in sub-Saharan Africa. In Kenya, CC is the second leading cancer in women, and the leading cancer-related death in women. Around 5,250 new cases of CC are diagnosed annually, and 3,200 women die of CC every year in Kenya.
The good news is that CC is preventable through HPV vaccination and screening to detect precancerous lesions. Early detection and treatment of abnormalities and precancers can improve patient outcomes and reduce the cost of treatment. However, many barriers exist at the system and patient levels that hinder the access and quality of CC screening, treatment, and follow-up services. These include inadequate infrastructure, weak referral and tracking systems, stigma, limited accessibility, and financial constraints.
To address these challenges, Global Health Innovations (GHI), a non-profit organization that utilizes existing technology and scalable processes to implement new and existing treatments for HIV/AIDS and other diseases, developed an eHealth tool – the Cancer Tracking System (CATSystem).
The CATSystem is a cancer research electronic medical records system aimed at managing cervical cancer research data that can be easily adapted to collect, store, analyze and report comprehensive data on any type of cancer to improve patient care and conduct cancer research in Kenya and around the world.
The CATSystem works by capturing patient demographic, clinical, laboratory, treatment, and follow-up data from various sources, such as health facilities, laboratories, pharmacies, and mobile phones. The system also generates automated reminders and alerts for health workers and patients to ensure timely screening, treatment, referral, and follow-up. The system also provides real-time data visualization and reporting tools for researchers and managers to monitor and evaluate the performance and impact of their CC programs.
The CATSystem was piloted in four health facilities in Kenya between 2018 and 2020. The pilot study showed promising results in improving the quality and efficiency of CC screening, treatment, and follow-up services. The study also demonstrated the feasibility and acceptability of the CATSystem among health workers and patients.
The CATSystem is not only a useful tool for CC care and research, but also a scalable and adaptable one. The system can be customized to suit different settings and diseases, such as breast cancer, tuberculosis, and COVID-19. The system can also be integrated with other eHealth platforms, such as the HITSystem, GHI’s flagship program that supports HIV services for pregnant women and infants.
The CATSystem is a testament to GHI’s vision to create a healthier world by leveraging technology to enhance health systems and empower communities in low-resource settings. It is also a proof of concept that eHealth can be used to improve the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and surveillance of cancer and other diseases.
GHI’s work is made possible by the collaboration and support of various partners, such as the Kenya Ministry of Health, KEMRI, CDC, USAID, UNICEF, I-TECH, University of Kansas Medical Center, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, among others.
If you want to learn more about our work or support our cause, you can contact us or follow us on social media. You can also donate to our programs or join our team of dedicated and experienced healthcare workers.
Together, we can make a difference in improving the health and well-being of women and communities affected by cervical cancer and other diseases.