Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

Article Category

Article available in the following languages:

Making cervical cancer screening programmes available to women who need it most

Every year, over 500 000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer worldwide. The EU-funded PRESCRIP-TEC project is improving screening for women in needy countries and vulnerable groups in eastern Europe.

Health icon Health

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common infection spread through sex. Almost all cervical cancers are caused by an HPV infection. More than 90 % of deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. Cervical cancer is largely preventable through HPV vaccination and regular screening. “We are focused on increasing the adoption of cervical cancer screening in resource-poor or hard-to-reach settings where regular screenings cannot be provided,” comments Ekaterina Gómez of project partner Connaxis, a digital marketing and communication agency with headquarters in the Netherlands.

Four pillars to solve the main screening issues

To overcome the major barriers to screening, PRESCRIP-TEC is using an innovative approach centred around four areas. The first is to inform and sensitise women via awareness sessions and other common communication channels in their communities. The second is to facilitate HPV self-testing at home. “Thus, if the result is negative, women do not need further examination and we can focus on those who test positive,” explains Gómez. The third is to introduce AI in the gynaecological exam. This will make diagnosis more precise and work easier for health workers. “With this cutting-edge technology there is no need for the gynaecologist to be present at each examination, saving time and resources, and also making it possible to carry out screenings in remote areas,” adds Gómez. The last area involves providing immediate assistance to women who need treatment or referring them to other medical centres if necessary. Scientists are carrying out research in four countries over three continents: Slovakia in Europe, Bangladesh and India in Asia, and Uganda in Africa. Overall, the aim is to enhance existing screening protocols in these countries. The findings will help to create and/or update national protocols. The project is also improving interactive information with communities via traditional media, mobile devices, social media and even storytelling. One notable example is a cartoon strip portraying the real-life story of a PRESCRIP-TEC patient who explains the entire screening process. It won the ‘Community Choice’ award in the Knowledge Sharing poster competition at the annual Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases meeting in 2022. Ending in January 2024, the PRESCRIP-TEC (Prevention and Screening Innovation Project Towards Elimination of Cervical Cancer) project will deliver effective and innovative cervical cancer screening, including direct treatment and follow-up, by improving the availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality of services. If you are interested in having your project featured as a ‘Project of the Month’ in an upcoming issue, please send us an email to and tell us why!


PRESCRIP-TEC, cancer, cervical cancer, screening, human papillomavirus, HPV