International collaboration

Collaboration with the International Cervical Cancer Prevention Association, the UK Royal College of Pathologists and the British Association for Cytopathology to strengthen cervical cytopathology and gynaecological histopathology services in the Republic of Moldova

The Department of Pathology has an ongoing collaboration with the International Cervical Cancer Prevention Association (ICCPA), the UK Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath) and the British Association for Cytopathology to strengthen cytopathology and histopathology services in the Republic of Moldova (RM).

 This collaboration commenced at the beginning of 2016 with discussions between the Department of Pathology, the ICCPA and the RCPath about Moldova – UK training exchanges and these discussions led to the RCPath undertaking an initial assessment visit to the Republic of Moldova (RM). For this assessment, Dr Charles van Heyningen, RCPath International Regional Advisor for Europe and Dr Mike Coutts, Consultant Gynaecological Pathologist at the West Kent Gynaecological Oncology Centre, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust Hospital visited RM in June 2016 to get a better understanding of RM’s training requirements. This assessment was followed by a gynaecological pathology training exchange in which 2 Moldovan pathologists, Drs Ecaterina Foca and Tatiana Fortuna went to the UK from 15 September to 15 December for a three-month placement with Dr Coutts. Then, the knowledge and skills acquired during the training exchange were reinforced by having regular telepathology case reviews in which Dr Foca would discuss her more difficult cases with Dr Coutts. More recently, Dr Foca and Dr Coutts organised a 2-day gynaecological pathology training workshop for 15 Moldovan pathologists on 13-14 June 2017 in Chisinau.

In parallel with the actions listed above, the Department of Pathology, the ICCPA and the British Association for Cytopathology (BAC) organised a collaboration with Dr Mary Brett, Consultant Cellular Pathologist at Southmead Hospital, North Bristol NHS Trust and Mr Hedley Glencross, Advanced Specialist Biomedical Scientist at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth and Executive Committee Member, British Association for Cytopathology. As part of this collaboration, Dr Brett conducted a short preliminary visit to Chisinau in March 2017, where she visited 3 cervical cytology screening laboratories at the Republican Diagnostic Centre, the Institute of Mother and Child and the AMT Centru. Subsequently, in partnership with the RCPath, Dr Mike Coutts and Mr Glencross came to RM for a week in June 2017 to conduct a more detailed analysis of cervical cytology and gynae pathology laboratories in Chisinau (the Institute of Oncology, the Republican Diagnostic Centre, the Republican Hospital, the Municipal Hospital No.1 and AMT Centru) as well as the regional hospitals in Balti and Cahul. In addition, both Dr Brett and Mr Glencross have been very actively supporting the National Society of Pathology in Moldova to prepare the Cervical Cytology (Pap Test) Screening Laboratory Specification for the Republic of Moldova and the Cervical Cytology (Pap Test) Management Recommendations for the Republic of Moldova.

Finally, the Department of Pathology, the ICCPA and Dr Brett have worked with EuroCytology to adapt and translate their online cervical cytology course (http://www.eurocytology.eu/en/course/3) for use in RM and that will provide an introduction to the theoretical aspects of cervical cytology screening. The Romanian version is expected to be available from mid-September 2017. In addition, Dr Brett is preparing the curriculum for a complementary hands-on workshop that will provide an introduction to the practical aspects of cervical cytology screening.

Taken together, these ongoing collaborations have been exceedingly useful in strengthening the cervical cytopathology and gynaecological pathology services in RM and the Department of Pathology is extremely grateful to Dr Michael Coutts, Dr Mary Brett and Mr Hedley Glencross for their time and expertise, as well as all their colleagues at the RCPath and BAC. Their generosity will help to improve the health of many Moldovan women.

International - Moldova (2016) 2