Article Text

other Versions

Download PDFPDF
Cervical cancer in sub-Saharan Africa: an urgent call for improving accessibility and use of preventive services
  1. Tafadzwa Dzinamarira1,2,
  2. Enos Moyo3,
  3. Mathias Dzobo1,
  4. Elliot Mbunge4 and
  5. Grant Murewanhema5
  1. 1Department of Public Health, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
  2. 2ICAP at Columbia University, Harare, Zimbabwe
  3. 3Department of Public Health, Oshakati Medical Centre, Oshakati, Namibia
  4. 4Department of Information Technology, University of Eswatini, Kwaluseni, Swaziland
  5. 5Unit of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe
  1. Correspondence to Dr Tafadzwa Dzinamarira, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa; u19395419{at}


Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rates of cervical cancer in the world, largely attributed to low cervical cancer screening coverage. Cervical cancer is the most common cause of death among women in 21 of the 48 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Close to 100% of all cases of cervical cancer are attributable to Human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV types 16 and 18 cause at least 70% of all cervical cancers globally, while types 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58 cause a further 20% of the cases. Women living with HIV are six times more likely to develop cervical cancer than those without HIV. Considering that sub-Saharan Africa carries the greatest burden of cervical cancer, ways to increase accessibility and use of preventive services are urgently required. With this review, we discuss the preventive measures required to reduce the burden of cervical cancer in sub-Saharan Africa, the challenges to improving accessibility and use of the preventive services, and the recommendations to address these challenges.

  • Cervical Cancer

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Twitter @DzoboMathias

  • Contributors TD: conceptualization; writing original draft. EMo: writing original draft. MD, EMb, GM: writing review and editing.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.