United to End Cervical Cancer in Egypt, an initiative to reduce the number of cases while raising awareness and improving women’s access to preventive care, is the recipient of Rotary’s third annual Programs of Scale award. Rotary International President Jennifer Jones announced the grant at the annual convention in Melbourne, Australia. The four-year program in and around Cairo will vaccinate more than 30,000 girls ages 9-15, provide cancer screenings for 10,000 women, and launch a public awareness campaign to reach 4 million people. Learn more about the latest Programs of Scale recipient.

United to End Cervical Cancer in Egypt, an initiative to reduce the number of cases while raising awareness and improving women’s access to preventive care, is the recipient of Rotary’s third annual Programs of Scale award. The grant was announced in May at the Rotary International Convention in Melbourne, Australia.

Building on the expertise and knowledge of key partners, the four-year program in and around Cairo will vaccinate more than 30,000 girls ages 9-15, provide cancer screenings for 10,000 women, and launch a public awareness campaign to reach 4 million people. Health care workers, school administrators, and staff will receive training on cervical cancer and its causes to ensure proper care and counseling for women and girls.

"As a cancer survivor, I am proud that we are supporting this project — and especially gratified that we are taking such an important step to support women’s health," says 2022-23 RI President Jennifer Jones, who announced the grant at the convention. "By providing preventive care, we can empower women and girls with the knowledge and resources they need to stay healthy and thrive. This program is further proof that Rotary is capable of creating large-scale, meaningful programs that create lasting change."

Cervical cancer is considered one of the most preventable cancers. It’s caused primarily by the human papillomavirus, which is responsible for the most common viral infection of the reproductive tract. Ninety percent of cervical cancer deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, where cancer screenings and routine HPV vaccinations aren’t available and cultural misconceptions may deter women from seeking care.

A 2021 report from the World Health Organization showed that only 1 percent of women ages 30-49 in Egypt had ever been screened for cervical cancer and of those diagnosed with the disease, more than half die from it. By providing vaccines to girls, screenings and timely treatment for women, and accessible information, United to End Cervical Cancer in Egypt strives to reduce the burden of this preventable disease and encourage communities to prioritize women’s health.

"By increasing awareness and promoting preventive care for cervical cancer, we can save lives and create healthier communities in Egypt," says Amal El-Sisi, a pediatrics professor at Cairo University and a member of the Rotary Club of El Tahrir. "As we gather data for the first time on the HPV and cervical cancer burden in the greater Cairo area, we are gaining crucial insights into the overall prevalence in Egypt. Upscaling our efforts will enable us to reach more women and girls in Egypt and empower them with the knowledge and tools they need to take control of their health."

In addition to increasing awareness of cervical cancer and improving medical services for women, the program will make progress toward the goals set by WHO’s Cervical Cancer Elimination Initiative. This global effort aims to vaccinate 90 percent of girls by age 15, screen 70 percent of women by age 35 and again by age 45, and treat 90 percent of women who have precancerous or cancerous cells. It aims to meet those targets by 2030.

The Rotary Club of El Tahrir initiated United to End Cervical Cancer in Egypt, with the full support of District 2451 (Egypt). The effort is modeled after an Egyptian presidential initiative on breast cancer, which increased women’s visits to clinics and offers routine breast health services. The cervical cancer prevention program has assembled a coalition of partners that include the Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population, the Egyptian Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology, and the Sona3 El Khair Foundation.

"The Egyptian government is committed to improving women’s health, and we are pleased to work in partnership with Rotary clubs in Egypt to prevent cervical cancer in our country as part of the new presidential initiative for early cancer detection," says Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, minister of health and population. "By working together, we can achieve our shared goal of creating a healthier and more equitable society for all Egyptians. This partnership is a testament of how collaboration and innovation can have a meaningful impact on the health and well-being of our communities."

The Rotary Foundation awards one $2 million Programs of Scale grant each year to an evidence-based program that aligns with at least one of Rotary’s causes and is ready to be expanded to create larger-scale change. The programs are sponsored by Rotary members in collaboration with local communities and partner organizations that offer expertise and support.

"With Rotary’s Programs of Scale, our members are inspired to tackle large-scale challenges and collaborate with organizations that share our vision for transformative change," says Ian H.S. Riseley, 2022-23 chair of The Rotary Foundation Trustees. "Drawing on our experience from the global effort to eradicate polio, we understand that collaboration and the integration of specialized skills, talents, and resources amplify our impact. This synergy enables Rotary members to develop and implement ambitious, results-driven initiatives, leveraging past successes to build healthier, more resilient communities."

The other Programs of Scale finalist this year is the Digital Interactive Classrooms program, which aims to improve the quality of education in Panama by introducing new technology in 230 classrooms. An article about that program will appear in next month’s issue.



United to End Cervical Cancer in Egypt is the third recipient of Rotary’s annual Programs of Scale grant. The first two grants supported programs in Zambia and Nigeria that have already made significant progress in improving the health of communities in those countries.

2020-21: Partners for a Malaria-Free Zambia aims to reduce cases of malaria in 10 heavily affected districts in Zambia’s Central and Muchinga provinces. The program is especially focused on reducing severe malaria and death among pregnant women and children under age 5.

  • With the support of several local implementing partners, the program has trained and supported 245 health facility staff members and added 2,500 community health workers to the national health system in Zambia.
  • The community health workers are trained in integrated community case management, which targets the three diseases that cause the most deaths in children under age 5: malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhea. They also participate in polio immunization campaigns.
  • The program has expanded effective malaria diagnosis and treatment to communities in the target districts, bringing health care access closer to home. The effort has reached over 1.2 million Zambians with malaria treatment and prevention measures.

2021-22: Together for Healthy Families in Nigeria is a member-led, evidence-based program that aims to reduce maternal and infant mortality by increasing access to high-quality health care in several areas of Nigeria. The program involves training health care workers, equipping health facilities, and creating new patient feedback and referral systems.

  • Partnerships with nine institutions, including the Federal Ministry of Health, were established to ensure the long-term sustainability of the initiative.
  • A baseline study was conducted across project locations in order to measure program effectiveness and location-specific knowledge, attitudes, and practices.
  • In the first six months of implementation, the program trained 210 health care workers in emergency obstetrics and neonatal care, engaged traditional and faith-based leaders, and held community dialogue sessions for more than 5,000 people.

Watch videos about these programs and learn more about Programs of Scale grants at my.rotary.org/programs-scale-grants.