The coverage of cervical cancer screening in South Africa is inadequate, with an estimated 8.8-million unscreened women who are mainly serviced by the public health sector in lower-resourced areas. Alternative screening options need to be considered. Every step in the screening process needs to be critically evaluated to design a practical programme without a bottleneck, to deliver maximum benefit with limited available resources. Patient self-sampling has been identified as an acceptable method of specimen collection for many women. Patient self-sampling, combined with high-risk human papillomavirus-based testing, has the potential to increase cervical cancer screening coverage, especially in areas where screening is inadequate.