Increasing International Access to Cervical Cancer Screenings and Vaccinations

January 12th, 2021 | News


Between 2018 and 2030, the annual number of worldwide deaths from cervical cancer is expected to rise from 311,000 to 400,000. In 2018, almost 90 percent of deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries. Cervical cancer, the fourth-most common cancer among women, is preventable, and successful implementation of vaccination, screening, and treatment can significantly reduce the number of new cases and deaths from the disease. During this year’s Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, we reflect on our work to prevent and treat cervical cancer by supporting human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination introduction and the scale-up of cervical cancer services globally. 

With funding from Gavi, we have provided technical assistance for the planning, implementation, and monitoring of HPV vaccination programs in eight countries. Through our work in international HPV vaccination introduction, we have identified several key recommendations for the rollout and uptake of the HPV vaccine, including:

  1. Understand your audience and target communication to girls being vaccinated and their parents, community and religious leaders, local non-governmental and civil society organizations, and the media.
  2. Develop partnerships with a range of multi-sectoral stakeholderssuch as cancer prevention, education, adolescent health, gender, and other community stakeholders.
  3. Ensure that HPV vaccination is integrated with screening and treatment activities, and that communication strategies demonstrate the benefits of the vaccine for cervical cancer prevention.
  4. Establish strategies across stakeholders to identify and understand the target population and measure immunization achievements.

We also implement the USAID Securing an AIDS-Free Era project in Zambia, a country in which cervical cancer is the most prevalent cancer among women. Our work demonstrated that the integration of cervical cancer prevention into HIV services and intensive supportive supervision increased access to cervical cancer screening and reduced the burden of cervical cancer among women living with HIV. 

As COVID-19 continues to disrupt routine vaccination and other important health care services, we look forward to applying our experience and knowledge to help our partners strengthen HPV vaccination and administer the COVID-19 vaccine worldwide.

Learn more about JSI’s support for international HPV vaccination introduction.

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