A common household item can serve a double purpose: it gives flavor in your kitchen, and it saves your life.
A low-cost innovation—vinegar— can help detect cervical cancer and save thousands of lives in developing nations.
Developed by the John Hopkins medical school in the 1990’s and endorsed by the World Health Organization, vinegar is brushed on a woman’s cervix. The vinegar causes precancerous spots to turn white, reports The New York Times.
The spots can be instantly frozen off with a metal probe cooled by a tank of carbon dioxide.
In the traditional Western test for cervical cancer, a pap smear, a scraping of the cervix is taken and sent to a lab for testing. High-quality labs are scarce in many poor countries, and waiting for results can take weeks. Woman who live in rural areas are hard to reach. The vinegar procedure, known as VIA/cryo, only requires a nurse and a single visit to detect and kill the cancer.
Each year, more than 250,000 women die from cervical cancer, 85 percent of them in poor or middle-income countries.
Solutions to problems don’t always have to be high-tech. A little creativity and ingenuity can go a long way.