... Delays in public sector force JASL to go private
Concerns about the time it is taking to get the results of Pap smears done in public health facilities were raised recently by representatives of Jamaica AIDS Support for Life (JASL), who were guests at a Gleaner Editors' Forum.
"The turnaround time on a Pap smear in a public health facility can last from six month to a year, or until someone is fully diagnosed, develops cancer and dies," charged Kandisi Levermore, executive director of the JASL.
"We have seen where you send a sample for a pap smear, send it to get a result, and at the JASL, for example, we have to go private to get pap smear readings, because the turnaround time is a real issue," added Levermore.
While the National Public Health Laboratory claims that it usually takes no more than six weeks for the results to be ready, Levermore said that is not what they are seeing.
"I appreciate the work of the professionals in the public health system. I also understand that there will be difficulties with incomplete documentation. So I have no doubt that what the (NPHL) said (is what they believe), but the reality on the ground is not so. The stories of long waiting time are too numerous to tell," Levermore told The Gleaner.
Why a Pap test?
Doctors generally recommend repeating pap testing every three years for women ages 21-65. Women who are younger and are sexually active are also encouraged to do the screening.
Women age 30 and older can consider pap testing every five years if the procedure is combined with testing for HPV.
If you have certain risk factors, your doctor may recommend more frequent Pap smears, regardless of your age.
Persons who are waiting more than six weeks to collect their results from the NPHL can contact the facility through hotline numbers 922-6885 or 630-1952.