Cervical Cancer Screening Program – pilot in the Municipality of Prishtina

When identified the need in the first phase of the Cervical Cancer Screening Project (see below), in 2016 the screening program received the support of the United Nations Population Fund – UNFPA Office in Kosovo, and the Organization World Health Organization Office in Kosovo, to implement the screening program with the PAP test method, provided at the primary health care level, in the Municipality of Prishtina.

This project aimed piloting the cervical cancer screening within 3 Family Medicine Centers in Prishtina, and carrying out screening in approximately 2,000 women in this municipality, and developing the action plan for the municipality to make human and financial planning to build the screening program at the national level. Prishtina also served as a model for advocating the screening systems in other municipalities in Kosovo.

In 2016, this pilot project enabled for the first time the implementation of screening program at primary health care level and regulation of cooperation with the level of tertiary care, or the Institute of Pathological Anatomy at the University Clinical Center of Kosovo. With the dedication of the medical staff at the primary level, the project has enabled the training of 7 family medicine specialists in Prishtina to perform the Pap tests.

The successful realization of the project was made possible thanks to the cooperation between the Municipal Directorate for Health and Social Welfare of the Municipality of Prishtina, the National Board for Cancer Control, the Ministry of Health, the Main Family Medicine Center in Prishtina, the Institute of Pathology Anatomy of the Clinical Center University of Kosovo, United Nations Population Fund – UNFPA, World Health Organization – WHO, 700 for Science Foundation and Action for Mother and Children Initiative.

Being one of the priorities of the National Cancer Control Board and due to the commitment of the Municipal Directorate for Health and Social Welfare of the Municipality of Prishtina, the screening program continued successfully in the Municipality of Prishtina in 2017.

The results so far, including 2016 and 2017, includes about 3,500 PAP tests performed free of charge to women aged 21-65 years.

The long-term goal of the program is to broaden the screening capability at the national level, including distant municipalities, where women have limited access to health services.

FACT: Screening programs can reduce incidence and mortality from cervical cancer by up to 80%.