Cervical Cancer &HPV VaccinationConvening

Table of Contents

Introduction 

Cervical cancer constitutes one of the gravest public health emergencies in Africa, with a devastating impact, particularly on women, who face disproportionately high mortality rates. Recent data reveals that Africa records approximately 119,000 new cases and 81,000 deaths annually, making it the leading cause of cancer-related mortality among women on the continent. In response to this urgent crisis, the Africa Health and Economic Transformation Initiative (AHETI), a faith-based collective, in strategic partnership with health associations of sisterhoods in Africa, is spearheading a pivotal convening in Nairobi. This gathering is designed to mobilise the profound influence of faith leaders and their communities, aiming to significantly boost the uptake of HPV vaccinations. By doing so, it seeks to confront and dismantle the complex web of barriers that currently obstruct effective prevention measures. Through collaborative dialogue and targeted action, this convening will harness the collective power of diverse stakeholders to forge a path toward a future where cervical cancer no longer casts a shadow over the continent. 

Specific Objective 1: Collaborative Knowledge Building 

Goal: Facilitate a collaborative environment where faith leaders and health experts engage in meaningful dialogue to address the concerns and challenges associated with HPV vaccination and cervical cancer prevention in Africa. 

Research and Analysis: To provide a comprehensive overview of cervical cancer and HPV vaccination landscape in Africa, identifying barriers to effective prevention and vaccine uptake. 

Overview of Religious and Cultural Norms Around Vaccination: Offer a comprehensive review of the religious, moral, and cultural beliefs surrounding vaccination within the community, which will inform and guide the development of culturally sensitive advocacy strategies. 

Interactive Dialogues: Organise interactive sessions were faith leaders and health experts will openly discuss the prevailing concerns and misconceptions about HPV vaccination within their communities. These dialogues will aim to foster a mutual understanding and share insights that respect both scientific evidence and cultural perspectives. 

Joint Problem Solving: Participants will engage in problem-solving workshops where they could collectively identify specific barriers to HPV vaccine uptake, such as cultural taboos, misinformation, or logistical challenges. Through these workshops, participants will develop tailored strategies to overcome these barriers effectively. 

Sub-Objective 2: Capacity Building for Faith Leaders 

Goal: Enhance the capabilities of faith leaders by providing them with the latest scientific insights and effective public health strategies, enabling them to advocate for and communicate the benefits of HPV vaccination and cancer prevention within their communities. 

Key Actions 

Training Workshops: During and beyond the convening, hold training workshops for faith leaders that cover the latest research on HPV, the mechanics of HPV vaccination, its benefits, and the broader context of cervical cancer prevention. These workshops will be designed to equip faith leaders with factual, up-to- date information that they can confidently share with their communities. 

Resource Development: Develop a range of culturally sensitive and easily understandable resources, such as brochures, infographics, and videos, that faith leaders can use during their community interactions. These resources will address common questions and concerns about HPV vaccination and provide clear explanations of the science behind it. 

Support Network: Out of the Convening, establish a support network for faith leaders where they can share experiences, strategies, and challenges with their peers. This network will provide ongoing support and encourage collaboration among faith leaders across different regions. 

Follow-up and Reinforcement: As an outcome of the Convening implement a follow-up system to reinforce the training and resources provided. This could include regular refresher courses, updates on new research, and continuous access to health experts for questions that arise during their advocacy efforts. 

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