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New grants announced for driving HPV vaccination uptake in Africa and Asia

by Elle Pearson | News

24 June 2024

2 comments 2 comments

A young Nepalese girl standing among a group of women


Cervical cancer is almost entirely preventable and, if caught at an early stage, it can be treated successfully. Through human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, cervical screening and treatment, we can reduce rates of cervical cancer to the point where almost no one develops or dies from it.  

In 2021, researchers we funded found that HPV vaccination is expected to prevent almost 90% of cervical cancers in women in their 20s who are offered it at ages 12 to 13.  

But cervical cancer is still the 4th most common cancer in women worldwide. And the distribution of the disease is not equal around the world.  

In 2022, around 10% cervical cancer cases and deaths occurred in high-income countries, like the UK. The remaining 90% of cervical cancer cases and deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). 

This is a result of LMICs having limited access to HPV vaccination, cervical screening, and treatment. 

What are we doing about this?

As the world’s largest independent funder of cancer research, we’re committed to beating cancer for everyone, and that means supporting the reduction of cervical cancer incidence all over the world. 

Through the International Cancer Prevention (ICP) programme, we’re helping to expand access to HPV vaccination for adolescent girls in Nigeria and India, to prevent cervical cancer. 

But that’s just the first step. 

So, in April 2024, the ICP Programme awarded three small grants to organisations in LMICs. 

These grants are an exciting new way for us to fund research, providing the initial financial support local organisations need to kickstart projects aiming to improve HPV vaccination access and uptake.  

After an open call for applications and a rigorous assessment process, three LMIC-based projects were selected to receive the funding.  

Find out more about our new grants

1. Africa Cervical Health Alliance’s (ACHA’s) project across Africa

This project aims to develop and test a new ‘scorecard’ system for assessing the coverage and quality of HPV vaccination programmes across Kenya and Malawi.  

Organisations based in these two countries will be trained to use the scorecard to advocate to national decisionmakers for investment in HPV vaccination programmes, with the aim of driving up HPV vaccination coverage in both countries.  

Whilst the project will start in these two countries, utilising existing community action, the scorecard has the potential to be expanded across the continent and could dramatically improve HPV vaccination coverage throughout Africa.  

This project is led by the Africa Cervical Health Alliance (ACHA), a group of cervical cancer-focused civil society organisations and advocacy experts from across Africa. 

2. NFCC and NESOG’s project in Nepal

Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women in Nepal, but the country doesn’t yet have a national HPV vaccination programme.  

Two Nepal-based organisations, NFCC and NESOG, are partnering with the country’s Ministry of Health to advocate for a publicly-funded HPV vaccination programme for adolescent girls.  

They will also be providing healthcare professionals with the direct guidance needed to deliver the vaccine. The final stage of this project will be focused on raising public awareness of HPV vaccination through a range of different channels, including an interactive voice response phone line.  

This work complements the ICP programme’s successful project advocating for greater tobacco control in Nepal. 

“We believe that, through this project, we will create change that leads to a better understanding – and therefore uptake – of HPV vaccination across the length and breadth of Nepal,” said Pema Lhaki, Executive Director at NFCC.

3. Clinton Health Access Initiative’s (CHAI’s) project in Eswatini

This project is situated in Eswatini, a small country in southern Africa with the highest rates of cervical cancer cases and deaths in the world 

It is being led by the Clinton Health Access Initiative’s (CHAI’s) in-country office in partnership with Eswatini’s Ministry of Health, and is focused on integrating HPV vaccination into routine services for girls living with HIV.  

People living with HIV are six times more likely to develop cervical cancer, and with a significant population of girls living with HIV in Eswatini, it is crucial that this population has access to HPV vaccination. 

CHAI will aim to secure long-term investment for comprehensive HPV vaccination services (including those for girls living with HIV) across the country. The project team will also deliver an educational campaign to improve acceptance and uptake of the HPV vaccine for all adolescent girls. 

We’re delighted to be working with the grant-winners over the next 18-24 months as they take forwards work that will aim to see many more girls access the HPV vaccine. 

    Comments

  • Ms Rose GAHIRE
    5 July 2024

    Palliative care association of Rwanda being a member of ACHA, Iam so excited for ACHA to be awarded this pilot grant for scorecard implementation in two member countries will if done well will expand to other ACHA member countries

  • Benda Kithaka
    4 July 2024

    We are very excited to be part of this trnasformative journey. Congratulations to our fellow co-grantees.

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    Comments

  • Ms Rose GAHIRE
    5 July 2024

    Palliative care association of Rwanda being a member of ACHA, Iam so excited for ACHA to be awarded this pilot grant for scorecard implementation in two member countries will if done well will expand to other ACHA member countries

  • Benda Kithaka
    4 July 2024

    We are very excited to be part of this trnasformative journey. Congratulations to our fellow co-grantees.

Tell us what you think

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read our comment policy.