AAN vaccine advocacy campaigns in Kenya & Uganda vaccinate 2,140 girls against HPV cervical cancer prevention.

A further 5,200 youngsters were informed regarding the HPV vaccine and cervical cancer prevention on 13 September 2023 – Nairobi, Kenya; Ishaka Bushenyi and West Nile Uganda: Cervical cancer is the most common cause of cancer-related fatalities in women. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the main cause of cervical cancers worldwide. More than 90% of these fatalities take place in developing nations with limited cancer prevention measures. The HPV vaccine offers effective defense against HPV types 16 and 18, which account for about 70% of occurrences of cervical cancer. Vaccination is most effective in the early adolescent years, before the first sexual experience and potential HPV infection.

With support from AAN, the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Student Association, the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union, and the Reproductive Health Network of Kenya jointly developed an information campaign and intervention strategy to inform the community and provide preventative measures through vaccination for girls between ages 10-14 and screening for cervical cancer. AAN is delighted to announce initial results and learnings from this innovative and impactful campaign (Jan-Aug 2023).

Uganda Nurses and Midwives Student Association (UNASNM):
UNASNM originated a peer-to-peer information/sensitization curriculum and campaign rolled out in seven schools, in collaboration with District Health Officers. The nursing students developed pre- and post-intervention questionnaires, information leaflets, and action strategies. The project aimed to facilitate increased knowledge and uptake of the HPV vaccine among girls aged ten years in the Kikuube district.

The intervention was overwhelmingly successful – with more than 2000 pupils sensitized and informed and 204 girls vaccinated. There will be a follow-up intervention to vaccinate later this year. The Ministry of Health will be contacted about the availability of vaccines to consider boys as well.

UNASNM trained nursing-student advocates, who then reached out to young girls in local schools, working with district health officials to ensure follow-up school-based vaccination and sensitization. KIU students have developed advocacy training tools, engaged stakeholders, and analyzed COVID vaccine data in pilot areas.

The Reproductive Health Network Kenya (RHNK):
RHNK provides high-quality reproductive healthcare to the community, with a key target population of women and girls in their reproductive age. Current estimates indicate that 1every year 5236 women in Kenya are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 3211 die from the disease (HPV Information Centre).

RHNK implemented an initial information, screening, and vaccination campaign reaching more than 1, 500 girls in primary schools and communities, and resulting in the vaccination of 710 girls between 9-12 years of age and an increase in the number of screenings in the community to check for cervical cancer.

There remain deeply rooted misconceptions and myths about HPV, even among educators. RHNK will continue this important campaign as part of its ongoing reproductive health priorities.

Uganda Nurses & Midwives Union (UNMU), West Nile Branch:
As part of a 5-year UPLIFT project to provide sexual and reproductive health information to younger girls annually in four districts of the West Nile, UNMU-West Nile conducted
combined HPV information and vaccination administration for younger girls in eight schools in the Districts of Nebbi, Zombo, Madi-Okollo, and Pakwach where UPLIFT West Nile is operating.

With the help of four UNMU nurse-midwives, this first intervention surpassed expectations with 1,236 young girls vaccinated and an additional 1,668 sensitized, including young boys.

A total of six HPV vaccination and information-sharing rounds will take place in the four
districts this year if time permits – the project got off to a late start due to delays in funding approval from Norway for the UPLIFT West Nile project. If funding allows these events will be conducted annually for the next four years.

HPV Advocacy Training and Education Tools:
The training, education, and public information tools developed by KIUSON, West Nile, and RHNK for the AAN Vaccine Advocacy Campaigns can be freely accessed at

NEW RESEARCH published in The Lancet shines a light on male vulnerability to HPV:
Global and regional estimates of genital human papillomavirus prevalence among men: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Open Access Published: September2023: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(23)00305-4

*The Africa Action Network for Nurses (AAN) works in 11 Eastern & Southern African
countries, supporting nurses & midwives through immunization advocacy and enhanced access to reusable PPE. www.africactionetwork.com For more information contact Linda Carrier-Walker lcw@carrierwalker.ch