The Inaugural Teleconference for ECHO Latin America ELA Project: Monthly teleconferences about cervical cancer prevention and control programs took place on Friday, May 29, 2020.
During the inaugural teleconference, ECHO ELA Project collaborators Silvana Luciani, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Melissa Lopez Varon, MD Anderson Cancer Center and Sandra L. San Miguel, National Cancer Institute (NCI), welcomed 140 participants, including leaders for national cervical cancer and immunization programs from the Ministries of Health in Latin America, NGO representatives and other professionals working on related projects; Focal Points from each of the PAHO offices in Latin America, PAHO representatives from Washington, D.C., WHO in Geneva, MD Anderson Cancer Center University of Texas, and the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
The following was covered during the inaugural teleconference:
- A brief summary of the ECHO® Institute and model established in New Mexico by Dr. Arora;
- An introduction to the ECHO ELA Project whose goal is to assist countries to develop their national cervical cancer elimination plans and meet the WHO cervical cancer goals - 90-70-90 (90% HPV vaccination, 70% screening and 90% treatment);
- The ECHO ELA Project Faculty members, who will provide their expertise and guide the teleconference sessions to increase the learning capacity of our participants, were presented, including Drs. Silvina Arrossi (CONICET, Argentina), Maria Tereza da Costa (PAHO/WDC), Mauricio Maza (Basic Health Int’l, El Salvador), Jane Montealegre (Baylor College of Medicine) and Mila Salcedo (MD Anderson Cancer Center University of Texas).
- An overview of the actual cervical cancer programs and effective strategies to improve the programs’ impact during a didactic presentation on the topic ‘Elimination of Cervical Cancer in the Americas’ by Ms. Luciani.
Case sample to be included in ECHO discussions:
A case sample was provided, and the presenters highlighted the importance of the participants to provide public health cases given that the ECHO® model is based on the multilateral exchange of knowledge through the use of cases as the epicenter of its discussion.
Participants discussed the challenges that COVID-19 presents and its impact on HPV vaccination and health services. Moreover, participants are concerned about the economic crisis, which will increase existing challenges to strengthen currently existing cervical cancer programs. Participants brought up the collaboration with the Ministries of Education, low resources and vaccines in the area and how to reach populations in remote areas. We briefly discussed efforts being conducted by PAHO/WHO to address the supply of HPV vaccines in the region. We received a few questions that will be answered by our Faculty and will be distributed among our participants along with a summary of the teleconference prior to the next teleconference.