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This paper presents findings from a study conducted in 2007 and 2008 in two states in India: Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat. The objectives of the study were to: (i) design effective and appropriate HPV vaccine delivery systems for 10- to 14-year-old girls; (ii) design a communication strategy for HPV vaccine delivery; and (iii) devise an HPV vaccine advocacy strategy.
The study populations included girls, parents, and local-, district-, and national-level stakeholders. A mixture of group discussions, visual representation techniques, face-to-face interviews, desk and health facility record reviews, field observations, and consultative workshops were used to collect the data.
Study findings showed that the policymakers, health care providers, parents, and adolescents were aware and concerned about cervical cancer; would welcome vaccination if safe, effective, affordable, and accessible. Health systems did not require large infrastructure investments to introduce HPV vaccine; basic cold chain and logistic equipment were available. New outreach systems for adolescent girls need to be tested through demonstration projects. No policies would compromise the introduction of HPV vaccination.
An HPV vaccine program, requiring public education and provider training, could be delivered. Policymakers’ safety and vaccine efficacy concerns can be addressed through targeted advocacy efforts. Three broad approaches were suggested: (i) merge HPV vaccination with already established immunization services; (ii) package HPV immunization with adolescent health services or as a part of a cancer control service; and (iii) deliver HPV vaccinations through either routine immunization services or a campaign using schools as sites for school-going girls and anganwadi or village health centers for non-school-going girls.