Katayoun Taghavi has been awarded a Postdoc.Mobility grant by the Swiss National Science Foundation

Katayoun Taghavi

29.06.2022 – Katayoun will work under the supervision of Dr. Partha Basu, at the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Katayoun’s Postdoc.Mobility project is part of a large implementation study, «SHE-CAN» (Self-collected HPV Evaluation for the Prevention of Cervical CANcer), which aims to develop a scalable, woman-centred model for cervical cancer screening in vulnerable women in two states of India, Tamil Nadu and Mizoram.

Her mobility grant provides the opportunity to work with leading international experts in implementation research. She will be involved in interdisciplinary research, gain experience using mixed-methods analysis and specific implementation science methodologies. Methodologies and results from this study will make important contributions to both fields of cervical cancer and implementation science. The overall aim is to see improvements in cervical cancer screening for women in India and in turn fewer deaths among young women.

Cervical cancer is a preventable disease but remains a significant problem in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) because of ineffective screening policies. Cervical cancer is still a major cause of death for women in India where over 90,000 women die from the disease annually. The World Health Organization (WHO) predicts this death rate will double by 2040 unless screening programs are significantly improved. As part of this reform, the WHO promotes replacing screening using visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) due to its ineffectiveness and poor coverage, currently reaching only 5% of women. In its place, the WHO advocates a transition to human papillomavirus (HPV) testing, with the goal of 70% screening coverage and treatment for 90% of women who screen positive by 2030. It is currently unclear how this transition should best take place in LMICs such as India. Implementation research can fill this gap.