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Excellent Education Program
Cervical Cancer and HPV Vaccination Initiative

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Collaborative Knowledge Building

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.

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Community-Centric Advocacy

Develop and implement advocacy strategies tailored to the unique cultural, ethical, and spiritual perspectives of African communities to promote informed decision-making and enhance public health outcomes related to HPV vaccination and cervical cancer prevention.

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Introduction Cervical Cancer & HPV Vaccination Convening

  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. 

 

Where is the Event:

Radisson Blu Hotel, Nairobi

When is the Event:

1th to 13th June 2024

Objectives

Cervical Cancer & HPV Vaccination Convening

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. 

Key Actions

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

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

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. 

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. 

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. 

Key Actions

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

Goal: Develop and implement advocacy strategies tailored to the unique cultural, ethical, and spiritual perspectives of African communities to promote informed decision-making and enhance public health outcomes related to HPV vaccination and cervical cancer prevention.

Key Actions

Provide training for all experts, health advocates and participating faith leaders on the cultural, ethical, and spiritual nuances of the communities they serve. This training will focus on understanding and respecting diverse perspectives, which is crucial for effective advocacy. 

Based on insights gained from community consultations, develop guidelines for appropriate messaging. 

During the Convening and beyond, conduct consultations with community members to gather insights into their beliefs, practices, and concerns regarding HPV vaccination. These consultations will help in crafting messages that are not only respectful but also resonate deeply with community values.

Forge partnerships with respected local influencers, such as traditional leaders, community elders, and women’s groups, who can serve as advocacy champions within their communities. Their involvement can lend credibility and a more profound impact to the advocacy efforts 

Goal: Ensure that all HPV vaccine options available in Africa meet the highest international standards of safety and efficacy, thereby establishing broad public trust and driving higher vaccination uptake. 

Key Actions

How workshops during the convening that will undertake expert conversations on thorough assessments of all HPV vaccine options available on the market. This involves existing and possible collaboration with local and international health regulatory bodies to review clinical trial data, side effects, efficacy rates, and manufacturing processes. 

Hold conversations around standardised certification process that any HPV vaccine must pass before being recommended for use in Africa. Discuss processes around the assurance that ensure that the certification is transparent and adhere to both international best practices and local health requirements.

Have conversation on processes to regularly publish detailed reports on the evaluation and certification status of HPV vaccines. These reports will be made accessible to the public and health professionals to maintain transparency and accountability. 

Hold conversation on processes to engage a broad range of stakeholders, including healthcare providers, community leaders, and the public, in discussions about vaccine safety and efficacy. This will help to address any concerns or questions they may have and assist in building trust.

Establish a system for ongoing monitoring of the vaccines’ performance post- introduction. This includes tracking adverse effects and overall effectiveness as more people in the population are vaccinated. 

Enhanced Understanding and Dialogue

Facilitate a deeper understanding and ongoing dialogue between health professionals, faith leaders, and community members, leading to sustained engagement and collaborative efforts in public health initiatives.

Empowered Faith Leaders

Faith leaders will be well-informed and equipped to advocate for cervical cancer prevention and HPV vaccination

Strengthened Community Trust

Stronger trust and cooperation between health sectors and communities through transparent communication and respect for cultural values.

Vaccine

Increased Vaccine Uptake

By building trust and providing accurate information, vaccination rates are expected to rise.

Enhanced Public Health Strategies

Development of effective, culturally appropriate public health strategies that increase engagement and support from the community.

Empowered Health Experts

Health experts will gain valuable insights into the cultural, ethical, and spiritual considerations that impact health decisions within communities. This enhanced understanding will enable them to tailor their medical advice and interventions more effectively, ensuring they are both respectful of and responsive to the needs and values of the communities they serve.

Conclusion

The Nairobi Convening is a pivotal step toward addressing the cervical cancer crisis in Africa. By leveraging the respected voices of faith leaders and combining them with the expertise of health professionals, this initiative aims to transform public health landscapes, encourage life-promoting choices, and significantly reduce the burden of cervical cancer across the continent. 

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