Funded by the European Union
Department of Biotechnology Government of India

Is elimination of cervical cancer feasible globally? Webinar: Lessons learnt from PRESCRIP-TEC project.

Prescrip-tec key findings final conference

The webinar was conducted on 30th January 2024.

To grasp the latest developments in the effort to reduce 50% of cervical cancer cases by 2040, we encourage you to view the recorded session.

The PRESCRIP-TEC consortium, in collaboration with The Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD), co-hosted this conference to present the key findings of the 3-year project (February 2021 to January 2024). 

Researchers shared insights with influential figures in cervical cancer policy-making highlighting:

  • Community sensitisation contributes to increased uptake and must include family decision-makers, like husbands and mothers-in-law
  • hrHPV self-sample testing as primary screening is very convenient for women and increases uptake to over 90%.
  • In the follow-up process of screening of hrHPV-positive women we need to avoid drop-out and convince women to come to the clinic in order to achieve an uptake of 90%
  • Artificial intelligence is a promising technology for decision support to health workers who perform VIA.
  • The WHO screening protocol is feasible and cost-effective. However costs of hrHPV testing must reduce to make it affordable for low- and middle-income countries.

A panel discussion with experts followed, reflecting on the goal of reducing cervical cancer globally by 50% in 2040 and drawing lessons from PRESCRIP-TEC on community sensitization, HPV self-sample testing, follow-up for positive cases, AI decision support, and overall cost-effectiveness.

The discussion also explored ways to make cervical cancer screening affordable for LMICs, touching on the Global Fund for Cervical Cancer Screening, cost-effective HPV tests, and smarter screening strategies based on prevalence.

Co-chairs

Dr. Ishu Kataria – Senior Public Health Researcher, the Lancet Commissioner

Dr. Kataria focuses on non-communicable disease prevention and control at RTI’s Center in both India and the global context. She has experience in conceptualising and developing interventions, capacity-building initiatives, and designing and implementing programmes on NCDs, including cancer prevention and behaviour change communication.

Dr. Heleen van Beekhuizen – Gynaecological oncologist in Erasmus MC

Gynaecological oncologist at Erasmus MC The Netherlands. Principal investigator in studies focusing on premalignancies of the cervix (TopIC 2 and Vaccin). Dr. van Beekhuizen actively participates in oncological gynaecology in low-resource settings including cervical cancer prevention and treatment.

Speakers

Keerthana Prasad
Dr. Keerthana Prasad – Director at the Manipal School of Information Sciences

Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, she serves as the Director at the Manipal School of Information Sciences. In this role, she oversees research activities and collaborates with the School of Allied Health Sciences to propose joint programs. Her expertise is particularly relevant to UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Dr. Jurjen van der Schans – Postdoctoral researcher at the Global Health unit, University Medical Center Groningen

Jurjen has a background in medical pharmaceutical sciences with a focus on global health, epidemiology, (health-) economics, and pharmacotherapy. He has experience in setting up and conducting (multi-center) randomized (clinical) trials, and working with all sorts of observational design studies during his PhD. His work as an epidemiologist and health-economist mainly focuses on (public) health interventions in a global health setting.

Dr. Morven Roberts – Chief Executive Officer at the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases

Chief Executive Officer at the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases, Dr. Roberts has devoted over 15 years to researching tropical infectious diseases in Africa, India, and South America. Subsequently, she joined the UK MRC funding agency, where she oversaw an extensive clinical trials portfolio and global health activities. It was during this period that she became increasingly aware of the changes in the global health burden with a rising incidence of chronic non-communicable diseases. Dr. Roberts assumed the role of CEO at GACD in October 2019.

Dr. Jogchum Beltman. Gynaecologist-Oncologist at Leiden University Medical Center.

Dutch expert on gynecologic oncology playing a pioneering role in cervical cancer research and prevention. Dr. Beltman is involved in the PRESCRIP-TEC research project and the Female Cancer Foundation.

Marlieke de Fouw. Resident in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in The Netherlands.

Working on PhD thesis about cervical cancer screening in low resource settings.
Dr. de Fouw is involved in the PRESCRIP-TEC research project and the Female Cancer Foundation.

Panel discussion experts

Dr. Partha Basu – IARC/WHO

As a medical doctor and researcher, he serves as the Head of the Early Detection, Prevention, and Infections Branch at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC/WHO) in France.

Ms. Margaret Bee – GACD

Senior Impact and Policy Manager at Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases

Dr. Gianpaolo Suriano – European Commission

European Commission Scientific Officer – Cancer Mission

Dr. Jelle Stekelenburg – PRESCRIP-TEC

International aspects of reproductive health care (systems). Consultant Obs & Gyn, Medical Centre Leeuwarden Chairman Working Party International Safe Motherhood and Reproductive Health Member Programme Management Committee, International Board Amref Health Africa. Member Audit Committee Maternal Mortality and Morbidity, NVOG. Chairman Gobal Network Dutch Society of Obsterics and Gynaecologie (NVOG)

Dr. Daniela Kállayová. Ministry of Health, Slovakia

Senior officer at the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic. Overseeing health promotion and disease prevention, with a particular emphasis on cancer control and the well-being of vulnerable groups. She holds membership in Eurohealthnet Executive Board. Additionally, she is a member of the EU4Health Steering Group and Public Health Expert Group (PHEG) within the European Commission.

Dr. Lucia Kocová. National Cancer Institute, Slovakia

Gynaecologist at the Department of Gynaecological Oncology of the National Cancer Institute in Bratislava, outpatient gynaecologist of primary contact performing cervical cancer screening. Consultant at the National Oncology Institute for cervical cancer screening, member of the cervical cancer screening working group.

Dr. Gerald Mutungi. Ministry of Health, Uganda.

As a medical doctor and researcher, he currently holds the position of Assistant Commissioner for NCDs Prevention and Control Department at the Ministry of Health, Uganda. His responsibilities encompass coordinating all initiatives aimed at preventing and controlling Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) within the country.

Dr. Ashrafunnessa. Department of Gynaecological Oncology, Bangladesh

As the Chairman of the Department of Gynaecological Oncology, she holds a PhD from the University of Dhaka and is a member and fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (RCOG). Since 2004, she has served as the ‘Focal point’ for the Cervical and Breast Cancer Screening Programme of the Government of Bangladesh (GOB). Additionally, she serves as the Project Director for the “Electronic Data Tracking with Population-based Cervical and Breast Cancer Screening Programme (2018-2021).”

Dr. Saritha Shamsunder, Consultant and Professor at Vardhaman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung hospital, New Delhi

Dr. Shamsunder, is a leading figure in gynecological oncology in India. A board member of the International Federation of Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology, she organised Asia’s first World Congress of Colposcopy & Cervical Pathology. Chairing the Oncology Committee at Delhi ObGyn Society and past President of Indian Society of Colposcopy & Cervical Pathology, she’s a respected expert, authoring two books and contributing to numerous journals.

Dr. Maribel Almonte – World Health Organization

Implementation Scientist Early Detection Prevention and Infections. Cervical Cancer Elimination Initiative. World Health Organization.