The workshop was organised by SAVIC/Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, South African Medical Research Council, NESI/University of Antwerp, University of Nairobi and Kenya Paediatric Association in Nairobi, Kenya from 22-24 March 2016.
As HPV vaccination can be regarded as an entry point for strengthening overall adolescent health services, the purpose of the workshop was to:
(a) Promote successful and effective introduction of HPV vaccination and other adolescent health interventions in the eastern and southern African region;
(b) Create a multi-disciplinary resourceful team of experts to support and advocate for the introduction of HPV vaccines and other adolescent health interventions in the eastern and southern African region; and
Increase synergy between academics, educators and Ministries of Health to revive and strengthen school-based health programmes as delivery platforms of adolescent immunisation services in the eastern and southern African region.
A total of 66 delegates (participants and facilitators) participated in the workshop. The nominated country delegates included: representatives of the Ministry of Health of Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Tanzania and Uganda; representatives of Mekelle and Jimma University (Ethiopia), and Manhiça Health Research Centre (Mozambique). Other participants came from the East Africa Centre for Vaccines and Immunisation (ECAVI), Kenya Paediatric Association, academia (Kenya Medical Training College, Cheikh Anta Diop University, Universitas Padjadjaran, ICAP Columbia University), MoH Oman, and industry.
Facilitators were from: WHO/AFRO, WHO/Kenya, WHO/IARC, Gavi, PATH, SA-MRC, Kenya Medical Research Institute, and academia (Aga Khan University, University of Nairobi, University of the Free State, SAVIC/SMU, NESI/University of Antwerp).
The first day of the workshop comprised of presentations highlighting key aspects of cervical cancer screening, HPV vaccines, adolescent health interventions, delivery platform for HPV vaccination, and effective communication strategies for building public trust in HPV vaccination.
During the second day of the workshop, each country presented their respective status of HPV vaccine implementation and other adolescent health interventions, grouped in three sessions: (a) countries with a national HPV vaccination programme; (b) countries with a demonstration project; (c) countries planning for HPV vaccine introduction.
During the third day of the workshop country group presentations were made, highlighting for each country the strengths, gaps and challenges based on the feedback received during day two, and how to address these. The last session focused on monitoring and evaluation of HPV vaccination programmes, the importance of a cancer registry and early impact of HPV vaccination.
The workshop was highly appreciated by the participants as shown by the daily evaluations. Providing a forum for the country delegates to share their current status of HPV vaccine introduction, best practices and challenges, resulted in building a multi-disciplinary network of experts.