Cervical cancer remains the second most common cancer diagnosed in women in South Africa with an estimated 7,735 new cases in 2012 and 4,248 women dying from the disease. The very high incidence of cervical cancer is particularly tragic in an era where advances in medical science have proven cervical cancer as a potentially preventable disease. Although cancer kills more people globally than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, in most developed economies cervical cancer has become very uncommon due to successful screening and other preventive strategies.
The South African Government spends $13.3 billion each year on their health service, one of the biggest expenditures in the developing world, yet health care monitor groups like the Health Consumer Powerhouse Ltd (HCP) consistently rate South Africa’s public health sector among the worst in the world. Apart from a chronic shortage of qualified doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers, poor management, a lack of much needed medicines as well as essential medical equipment, there is additionally a high burden of infectious disease in South Africa.