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Service design strategy: Reducing cervical cancer in Sub-Saharan Africa
IBM x Harvard Medical School
Interviews, journey mapping, needs statements
I was one of five IBM employees selected to work on a 3-week design project with the Harvard Medical School in Boston. Part of the IBM Health Corps program, our IBM team partnered with The Harvard Global Health Catalyst to envision a strategy to reduce the cancer burden. Through design thinking exercises, over 20 interviews with health professionals, we developed a strategy to improve cervical cancer screening in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In Sub-Saharan African countries, cancer is significantly more deadly than in other countries with more developed healthcare infrastructures. There are approximately 626,000 new cases of cancer per year. 448,000 individuals die of cancer every year (American Cancer Society 2014).
Before the team met in Boston, we met online to start investigating the biggest challenges in cancer-care in Sub-Saharan African countries. We met in Boston to do a three-week workshop with nurses, doctors, and specialists.
In our research and design thinking exercises, we mapped out the different settings that care takes place and the needs, motivations, and challenges of healthcare professionals involved in cancer care. We focused on cervical cancer, the most dangerous cancer in Sub-Saharan Africa - and one of the most preventable cancers we know of.

Our recommendation to the Harvard Medical School was to implement a low-cost "see-and-treat" cervical cancer screening training for nurses in rural and urban settings. Training nurses the "see and treat" cervical cancer screening method was the most scalable because we learnt that nurses are the most robust and reliable health practitioner in Sub-Saharan Africa.
IBM rebus logo with an eye, a bee, and the letter M.Infant sitting in the middle of lots of baby food containers.