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Country/JA: Hungary flag Hungary
Action type: Policy initiative

Problem and objective: The aim is reducing inequalities in the access to screening of the Hungarian population by using mobile units.

Implementation status: Implemented policy program 

Key Contextual Factors

  • The responsible body for the program is the National Public Health Center (NNK) which is a central agency managed by the Government through the Minister of Human Capacities. The NNK manages, organizes and coordinates the regional and local leaders of the implementation of these programs, and performs professional supervision as defined by the legislation. The NNK also manages the population based screening programs and is responsible for health promotion activities in Hungary.
  • Initially, in 2018, a general condition assessment and cervical cancer screening were performed by health care professionals. The mobile screening units visited rural areas that face a (high) number of people in low socio-economic position.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, mobile units performed COVID-19 testing. From May 2021, the units worked according to their original purpose, and as a pilot project, they started the oral cancer screening - in cooperation with the National Institute of Oncology and the University of Szeged.

Key Components/Steps

  • 2018: start of screening in disadvantaged regions.
  • 2019: service has been extended to mammographic screening with 9 additional mobile screening units.
  • 2021: introduction of oral cancer screening.
  • In the coming years: implementation of pilot melanoma screening.
  • Supporting the applicability of professional criteria for screening.
  • 10-year plan: a nationwide uniform implementation.

Main Impacts / Added Value

  • The initiative addresses the inequalities in accessing cancer screening services in rural areas due to challenging socio-economic conditions.
  • The benefits for the individuals is that they do not have to travel (sparing costs and time) and get cancer screening services close to their homes. In addition, they receive health information.  The initiative is supposed to lead to health gain in the society, especially among people living in remote areas and being deprived.

Lessons Learned

  • The key condition for success is a structural financial framework, which is the basis for long-term operation and sustainability.
  • The program has been assessed as successful, given the number of areas and participants reached:
    • 2018: 65 settlements, 3443 participants.
    • 2019: 40 settlements, 10034 participants.
    • 2020: 37 settlements, 2742 participants.
    • Covid screening: 85.000 participants.
  • The most significant obstacle is the lack of specialists at local level.