Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Modeling optimal cervical cancer prevention strategies in Nigeria

Nadia Demarteau1*, Imran O Morhason-Bello2, Babatunde Akinwunmi2 and Isaac F Adewole2

Author Affiliations

1 Health Economics, Global Vaccines Development, GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines, Avenue Fleming 20 B-1300, Wavre, Belgium

2 Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan/University College Hospital, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria

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BMC Cancer 2014, 14:365  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-365

Published: 24 May 2014



This study aims to assess the most efficient combinations of vaccination and screening coverage for the prevention of cervical cancer (CC) at different levels of expenditure in Nigeria.


An optimization procedure, using a linear programming approach and requiring the use of two models (an evaluation and an optimization model), was developed. The evaluation model, a Markov model, estimated the annual number of CC cases at steady state in a population of 100,000 women for four alternative strategies: screening only; vaccination only; screening and vaccination; and no prevention. The results of the Markov model for each scenario were used as inputs to the optimization model determining the optimal proportion of the population to receive screening and/or vaccination under different scenarios. The scenarios varied by available budget, maximum screening and vaccination coverage, and overall reachable population.


In the base-case optimization model analyses, with a coverage constraint of 20% for one lifetime screening, 95% for vaccination and a budget constraint of $1 per woman per year to minimize CC incidence, the optimal mix of prevention strategies would result in a reduction of CC incidence of 31% (3-dose vaccination available) or 46% (2-dose vaccination available) compared with CC incidence pre-vaccination. With a 3-dose vaccination schedule, the optimal combination of the different strategies across the population would be 20% screening alone, 39% vaccination alone and 41% with no prevention, while with a 2-dose vaccination schedule the optimal combination would be 71% vaccination alone, and 29% with no prevention. Sensitivity analyses indicated that the results are sensitive to the constraints included in the optimization model as well as the cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) and CC treatment cost.


The results of the optimization model indicate that, in Nigeria, the most efficient allocation of a limited budget would be to invest in both vaccination and screening with a 3-dose vaccination schedule, and in vaccination alone before implementing a screening program with a 2-dose vaccination schedule.

CC; Human papillomavirus vaccination; Optimization model; Africa; Nigeria