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Open Access Research article

Qualitative study of the feasibility of HPV vaccine delivery to young adolescent girls in Vietnam: evidence from a government-implemented demonstration program

D Scott LaMontagne1*, Nguyen Quy Nghi2, Le Thi Nga3, Amynah Janmohamed4, Dang Thi Thanh Huyen5, Nguyen Tran Hien5 and Vivien Davis Tsu6

Author Affiliations

1 Vaccine Access & Delivery Department, PATH, PO Box 900922, Seattle, WA 98109, USA

2 World Bank, 8th Floor, 63 Ly Thai To, Hanoi, Vietnam

3 HealthBridge, Suite 202&203, E4 Building, Trung Tu Diplomatic Compound, No.6 Dang Van Ngu, DongDa, Hanoi, Vietnam

4 Faculty of Land and Food Systems, University of British Columbia, 2357 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T1Z4, Canada

5 National Expanded Program on Immunization, National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, 1 Yersin St, Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi, Vietnam

6 Reproductive Health Global Program, PATH, PO Box 900922, Seattle, WA 98109, USA

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BMC Public Health 2014, 14:556  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-556

Published: 5 June 2014

Abstract

Background

Introduction of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in national programs has proceeded apace since 2006, mostly in high-income countries. Recently concluded pilots of HPV vaccination in low-income countries have provided important lessons learned for these settings; however, rigorous evaluations of the feasibility of these delivery strategies that effectively reach young adolescents have been few. This paper presents results from a qualitative evaluation of a demonstration program which implemented school-based and health center–based HPV vaccinations to all girls in grade 6, or 11 years of age, for two years in four districts of Vietnam.

Methods

Using semi-structured interviews of 131 health and education staff from local, district, province, and national levels and 26 focus-group discussions with local project implementers (n = 153), we conducted a qualitative two-year evaluation to measure the impact of HPV vaccinations on the health and education systems.

Results

HPV vaccine delivery at schools or health centers was made feasible by: a. close collaboration between the health and education sectors, b. detailed planning for implementation, c. clearly defined roles and responsibilities for project implementers, d. effective management and supervision of vaccinations during delivery, and e. engagement with community organizations for support. Both the health and education systems were temporarily challenged with the extra workload, but the disruptions were short-lived (a few days for each of three doses) and perceived as worth the longer-term benefit of cervical cancer prevention.

Conclusion

The learning from Vietnam has identified critical elements for successful vaccine delivery that can provide a model for other countries to consider during their planning of national rollout of HPV vaccine.

Keywords:
HPV vaccine; Feasibility; Health system; School-based; Vaccine delivery; Vietnam