A training programme is now underway in Mozambique to develop the necessary skills and knowledge of the country's health workers for the introduction of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, designed to prevent cervical cancer. ISGlobal, working closely with the Manhiça Health Research Centre (CISM) and the Mozambican Ministry of Health (MISAU), ran a training course in the southern Mozambican district of Manhiça in the last week of February. The participants were health workers involved in the pilot phase of an HPV vaccination programme targeting preadolescent girls. In the coming weeks, the course will be repeated in Manica, a town in the central Mozambican province of the same name, and in Mocimboa da Praia, in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
This project, which is being financed by the "la Caixa" Foundation, plays a critical role in ensuring the success of the nationwide HPV vaccine roll-out by training educators, community leaders, and the health care workers responsible for implementing the new vaccine programme in schools.
The introduction of the HPV vaccine is a health priority for Mozambique, where cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in women and the incidence of the disease is among the highest in sub-Saharan Africa. Working closely with CISM and with support from the GAVI Alliance and various Mozambican institutions and international agencies, the Mozambican Government is piloting the introduction of the HPV vaccine in three provinces in advance of launching a nationwide vaccination programme in 2016.