A new European research initiative to fight against cervical cancer has been launched on February 1st 2021. The Prevention and Screening Innovation Project Toward Elimination of Cervical Cancer (PRESCRIP-TEC) is a 3-year project funded by the Horizon 2020 Research Programme and coordinated by the University Medical Centre Groningen.
PRESCRIP-TEC is formed by a consortium of 11 organisations from 7 different countries with the common objective of studying and addressing the barriers and facilitators of providing state-of-the-art community-based screening, treatment and follow-up programme for cervical cancer in selected settings in Bangladesh, India, Uganda and Slovak Republic.
The research project measures coverage and uptake in relation to availability, accessibility, acceptability, quality and cost-effectiveness, and options for scaling up. The implementation research will focus on best ways to increase participation and compliance in cervical cancer screening (on the beneficiaries’ side) and improve implementation fidelity (on the providers’ side).
PRESCRIP-TEC project will aim for the following specific objectives:
- To provide community-based screening for cervical cancer in at least eight different urban and rural settings in Bangladesh, India, Uganda and Slovak Republic by
- Sensitising in total over 450.000 men and women in the general population about cervical cancer prevention and screening using an approach of community mobilisation via traditional and modern media adapted to local context.
- Reaching over 90.000 women eligible for screening (especially from vulnerable groups, like minority groups, HIV-positive women, low health-literate women) to advocate for the screening and follow-up programme.
- Providing user-friendly screening services to at least 32.000 eligible women from vulnerable groups through self-tests (done at home) for hrHPV.
- Providing to all estimated 8.000 hrHPV positive women identified during this project, follow-up. For follow-up the project will apply Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid (VIA) in Asia and Africa and Pap smear in the Slovak Republic.
- If necessary, providing direct treatment with cryotherapy or thermal ablation for precancerous lesions for the estimated 1.800 women.
- Providing support in referral for the estimated 30–40 women detected with invasive cervical cancer, in those geographical areas where transport is not available.
- To use modern technology in screening and in patient records by
- Applying Artificial Intelligence (AI) in VIA, which has a higher sensitivity and specificity than inspection with the naked eye.
- Applying electronic medical records (EMR) where possible, based on the DHIS2 tracker software, which facilitates direct interaction with the clients via mobile devices, and automated aggregation of data for project management and research purposes.
- To develop clinical guidelines and protocols for the improved screening approach by
- Incorporating in existing cervical cancer screening protocols the new elements of community sensitisation, hrHPV self-testing, VIA with AI and EMR.
- Developing clinical guidelines and protocols concerning the improved protocols for wider dissemination globally.
- To measure feasibility of the improved screening protocol by
- Measuring client- and community-related factors that determine coverage and uptake of the improved cervical screening protocol.
- Measuring implementation fidelity, health service related-factors contributing to correct implementation of the improved cervical cancer screening protocol.
- Measuring outputs and outcomes of the improved screening protocol.
- Measuring cost-effectiveness of the improved screening protocol and conditions for dissemination in resource-constrained settings. Creating a business case for scaling up the improved protocol globally.
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