In Belgium, 640 women learned in 2018 that they had cervical cancer and 235 died from the illness, according to figures from the public health institute Sciensano.
According to a report published last December by the inter-insurance agency (AIM), the number of cervical cancer screenings went down by at least 25% between 2008 and 2017.
The proportion of women aged between 25 and 64 who have taken a cervical smear test in the course of the last three years has however gone down from 65% in Brussels and 64% in Wallonia in 2008 to 46% and 48% in 2017.
In Belgium, the Regions are responsible for cervical cancer prevention initiatives. Flanders already has an official screening programme and free vaccinations offering over 80%vaccination cover for girls in their first year of secondary education, which is not the case with the two other federal bodies.
Initiated last June, the call for proposals aiming to set up a “structured and free” cervical cancer prevention programme in Wallonia is now under way, the Wallonian Health minister, Christie Morreale, announced on La Première radio.
The project, led by a consortium composed of the Liège CHU, the Namur CHR and the Grand Hôpital in Charleroi, has just been selected to carry out the three-year screening operation.
The programme, which should begin at the end of 2020, will mainly target the women (aged between 25 and 64) most affected by this illness.
The “trial” screening programme will have a total maximum budget of 1.5 million euro, which may in due course be renewed pending evaluation, Morreale adds.