Acceptability of human papilloma virus vaccine and cervical cancer screening among female health-care workers in Enugu, Southeast Nigeria
Background: Cervical cancer, a leading cause of cancer deaths in women in developing countries can be prevented primarily by vaccinating adolescent girls and women against infection by the human papillomavirus (HPV) before their first sexual exposure, and secondarily through screening and treatment of identified precancerous lesions.
Aim: To determine the awareness and acceptability of the HPV vaccine and screening for cervical cancer among female health-care workers in Enugu, southeastern Nigeria.
Materials and Methods: Questionnaires were administered to a cross-section of 177 female health-care workers selected systematically from the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu, Nigeria. Statistical analysis was both descriptive and inferential at 95% confidence level using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) computer software version 16. A P value of less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Results: The awareness of screening for cervical cancer (91%) was significantly higher than that of the HPV vaccine (62.7%) [odds ratio (OR): 0.17; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.09–0.30]. However, the acceptability rate of the HPV vaccine (91.0%) was significantly higher than that of cervical screening (71.4%) (OR: 4.04;95% CI: 1.94–8.42)]. Only
25 (14.1%) of the health-care workers had done cervical screening, but 30 (49.2%) of the 61respondents with adolescent daughters had immunized their daughters with the HPV vaccine. Although no reason was given for the low participation in cervical screening, cost and availability of HPV vaccine was a major deterrent for the latter.
Conclusion: With more public enlightenment, available and affordable HPV vaccine appears to hold the key for prevention of cervical cancer in developing countries where the burden is high.
Key words: Acceptability, health workers, HPV vaccine, Nigeria