Volume 35, Issue 15, Pages 1817-1984 (4 April 2017)
Health professional feedback on HPV vaccination roll-out in a developing country
Original Research Article
Collette Venturas, Kanayo Umeh
Worldwide, Zambia has the highest cervical cancer incidence rates (58.4/100,000 per year) and mortality rates (36.2/100,000 per year). The human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine is considered a vital preventative measure against cervical cancer, particularly in sub-Saharan countries, such as Zambia. Past research suggests health professionals’ experiences with HPV vaccination rollout can have practical implications for effective delivery.
To explore health professionals’ perspectives on the HPV vaccination programme in Zambia.
Researcher travelled to Zambia and conducted semi-structured interviews with fifteen health professionals working in private, government, and missionary clinics/hospitals. Observation was conducted for triangulation purposes. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data.
Five main themes emerged; medical misconceptions about the HPV vaccination, particularly with regards to infertility; fear of the unknown, including possible side effects and inadequate empirical research; need for prior desensitisation to resolve cultural barriers prior to vaccination rollout; a rural-urban divide in health awareness, particularly in relation to cancer vaccines; and economic concerns associated with access to the HPV vaccination for most of the Zambian population.
Overall, the findings indicate that an essential avenue for facilitating HPV vaccination rollout in Zambia is by implementing a pre-rollout community effort that removes or softens cultural barriers, particularly in rural areas. It is also essential to correct erroneous HPV presumptions health professionals may have around infertility. Affordability remains a seemingly intractable hindrance that hampers HPV vaccination rollout in Zambia.