Cervical cancer is responsible for 300,000 deaths worldwide each year and disproportionately affects women in low and middle income countries. Most cases of cervical cancer can be prevented by HPV vaccination, but unlike other routine child vaccinations, HPV vaccination must be delivered to adolescents. Generally, adolescent health services in low and middle-income countries are highly fragmented, poorly coordinated, and uneven in quality. These weaknesses in adolescent health services reduce the efficiency and coverage of HPV vaccination.
The WHO has recommended that countries explore several options for improving coverage by integrating HPV vaccination into other adolescent health interventions such as deworming, iron and folic acid supplementation, and sexual health education. Gavi’s HPV program also encourages countries to include integrated delivery as part of Gavi’s support for HPV vaccination.
Many countries, however, are struggling to effectively integrate HPV vaccination programs. Few studies have been conducted to date to identify best practices and estimate the benefits of integrating HPV vaccination programs into broader adolescent delivery platforms, knowledge which is essential to supporting widespread integration.
Pharos is working with Gavi to identify key barriers and success factors to integrate high-impact, low-cost adolescent health services with HPV vaccination programs. These findings will be used to develop a set of recommendations to improve the efficiency and uptake of integrated HPV vaccination programs through Gavi support. Gavi may also ask Pharos to help design pilot projects to test different approaches to integration.
Adolescents are a particularly underserved age group in the health programs of many countries. The outcomes of this study could help to boost adolescent health programming in many areas, bringing together currently disparate health services for girls, strengthening school health programs, and generating insights that can increase uptake and coverage of HPV vaccination coverage and reduce preventable deaths from cervical cancer.
Team Members Involved: Mara Hansen Staples, Robert Hecht, Shan Soe-Lin, and Kelly Flanagan.
For more information, contact Kelly Flanagan at firstname.lastname@example.org