Around 300 million African girls and women are at risk of the poverty related disease, Female Genital Schistosomiasis (FGS), and 400 million are at risk for cervical cancer. Most of these are in Sub-Saharan Africa. FGS may be mistaken for cervical cancer or a sexually transmitted infection, and treated accordingly. Women may have FGS lesions, have cryptogenic bloody or malodorous discharge, or pain, and, be at higher risk for HIV and Human papillomavirus (HPV).
FGS is best diagnosed by point-of-care visualisation of the shape and colour of the lesions. However, health professionals require several weeks of training where the disease is seen frequently, and often they need a colposcope to recognise FGS. Worldwide, there are only a handful of health professionals who are proficient in FGS diagnosis.
A multispectral highly innovative colposcope linked to a smartphone, designed by an SME for cervical cancer recognition, will be adapted and validated for FGS diagnosis in this proposal. In three countries with different FGS epidemiology and different practices for gynaecological investigations of women, we will conduct a clinical trial in the spirit of the EDCTP agenda, with the ultimate aim of a patent and local production. With lessons from the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, an eLearning course will be designed and trialled. Equipment, consultations and training will be adapted to practical realities (cultures, unstable electricity/internet, poverty, vulnerability).
As recommended by the WHO and the "HPV faster approach", the diagnosis should be at the point-of-care. Management and data collection protocols will be designed in collaboration with the national health authorities in Southern Africa, the WHO and also in one European country. This is a thrust to promote clinical research and digitalisation for vulnerable populations. Hundreds of clinicians and scientists will receive training in FGS, clinical trials, and social sciences.
Oslo University Hospital (coordinator)
University of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa)
Durban University of Technology (South Africa)
Centre Bilharzia & Tropical Health Research (South Africa)
University of Eswatini (Eswatini)
University of Copenhagen (Denmark)
Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (Mozambique)