HAPPI Consortium Unveils Project Expansion in Honor of Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

January 17th, 2024 | news


Photo credit: Gates Archive, Genaye Eshetu

The HPV Vaccine Acceleration Program Partners Initiative (HAPPI) Consortium, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, expanded activities through August 2026 in support of the global effort to prevent cervical cancer. As January marks Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, HAPPI is reinforcing its commitment to accelerate human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) through targeted technical assistance, learning initiatives, and evidence-based decision-making.

The HAPPI Consortium, managed by JSI in collaboration with Clinton Health Access Initiative, the International Vaccine Access Center at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Jhpiego, and PATH, combines expertise to increase HPV vaccine uptake with a focus on policy, access, introduction, implementation, and learning.

Targeted Technical Assistance

Led by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency and supported by HAPPI, Nigeria began the initial phase of introducing the HPV vaccine into its routine immunization system on October 24, 2023. This significant endeavor, marked by a launch in Abuja attended by high-level government officials and religious leaders, aligns with the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Cervical Cancer Elimination Initiative that aims to fully vaccinate 90 percent of girls by the age of 15; in addition to screen 70 percent of women by ages 35 and 45; and treat 90 percent of women diagnosed with cervical disease by 2030. The first phase was successful in 16 states and HAPPI is preparing for work in the next 19 states in mid-2024.

In October 2023, Bangladesh launched the HPV Vaccination Campaign in Dhaka and began the first phase in all districts and sub-districts of the Dhaka division, with other divisions of the country to follow. Vaccine introduction aligns with the World Health Organization (WHO)-recommended single-dose schedule and aims to reach girls in grades 5–9 from all types of educational institutions and 10–14-year-old girls from communities, including those who are homeless and out of school. These efforts were supported in part by the HAPPI Consortium through PATH, which was part of the collaborative effort to introduce the HPV vaccine in Bangladesh. alongside Gavi, WHO, and UNICEF.

Learning Initiatives

HAPPI’s additions to its learning focus areas include expanding knowledge on HPV vaccine implementation and documenting and learning from implementation to increase and sustain HPV vaccination coverage. Learning activities will align with the Global HPV Vaccine Research Agenda, led by the WHO, and coordinated with the Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) Global HPV Vaccine sub-team, and partners. The consortium will focus on girls who are out-of-school and at risk, in addition to understanding and addressing key gender gaps in vaccination; and strengthening service delivery strategies that enhance and sustain coverage.

As it moves into its next phase, HAPPI will work with countries on evidence-based decision-making, stakeholder engagement, and translating lessons into policy and guidelines, notably working with countries that have not yet introduced, and/or are evaluating evidence for optimizing their program schedule. Through coordinated efforts, the consortium aims to alleviate barriers to uptake, increase demand, and accelerate coverage to protect girls in LMICs and contribute to cervical cancer elimination efforts.

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