Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine implementation in low and middle-income countries (LMICs): Health system experiences and prospects

Volume 31, Issue 37, Pages 3763-4054 (20 August 2013)

Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine implementation in low and middle-income countries (LMICs): Health system experiences and prospects
Review Article
Pages 3811-3817
Jannah Wigle, Ernestina Coast, Deborah Watson-Jones

Prophylactic vaccines for human papillomavirus (HPV) are being introduced in many countries for the prevention of cervical cancer, the second most important cause of cancer-related death in women globally. This is likely to have a significant impact on the future burden of cervical cancer, particularly where screening is non-existent or limited in scale. Previous research on the challenges of vaccinating girls with the HPV vaccine has focused on evidence from developed countries. We conducted a systematic search of the literature in order to describe the barriers and challenges to implementation of HPV vaccine in low- and middle-income countries. We identified literature published post-2006 to September 2012 from five major databases. We validated the findings of the literature review with evidence from qualitative key informant interviews. Three key barriers to HPV vaccine implementation were identified: sociocultural, health systems and political. A linked theme, the sustainability of HPV vaccines programmes in low- and middle-income countries, cuts across these three barriers. Delivering HPV vaccine successfully will require multiple barriers to be addressed. Earlier research in developed countries emphasised sociocultural issues as the most significant barriers for vaccine roll-out. Our evidence suggests that the range of challenges for poorer countries is significantly greater, not least the challenge of reaching girls for three doses in settings where school attendance is low and/or irregular. Financial and political barriers to HPV vaccine roll-out continue to be significant for many poorer countries. Several demonstration and pilot projects have achieved high rates of acceptability and coverage and lessons learned should be documented and shared.