C-WINS Champions HPV Vaccination in Zamfara State: A Landmark Initiative

The Centre for Well-being and Integrated Nutrition Solutions (C-WINS) lead efforts in to improve human Papillomavirus vaccine uptake to protect girls from cervical cancer in Kaur Namoda Local Government Area of Zamfara State. This effort is part of Nigeria’s Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), aiming to combat cervical cancer, which is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women aged 15 to 44 in the country.

In October 2023, C-WINS embarked on Phase II of the HPV Vaccine introduction in Kaura Namoda Local Government of Zamfara State, funded by the Johns Hopkins International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC) and Gavi, in collaboration with the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA). The initiative focused on training and mobilizing youth-led organizations and individuals to support the nationwide rollout of the HPV vaccination.

The Master Youths project, implemented by C-WINS, targeted the Kaura Namoda Local Government Area, using a human-centered design (HCD) approach to co-create activities with youths, enhancing HPV vaccine mobilization. By leveraging the networks of young people in the communities, C-WINS increased awareness, dispelled misconceptions, and generated demand for the HPV vaccination among parents, guardians, and adolescents. Traditional and religious leaders also played a crucial role, publicly endorsing the campaign and building community trust.

From June 27th to July 1st, 2024, the Multi Age Campaign (MAC) was launched, targeting adolescent girls aged 9 to 14 years. The strategy was multifaceted, including community outreach, school-based programs, and fixed vaccine centers. Mobile teams visited homes and community centers, vaccinating 3,541 girls across three wards in Kaura Namoda LGA. Schools across the wards saw the vaccination of 5,909 girls, ensuring high coverage among school-going girls. Health facilities and temporary centers provided reliable vaccination sites, reaching a total of 2,571 girls.

Among these numbers are the stories of individual girls whose lives have been transformed. One such story is that of Halima, a 12-year-old girl from Kaura Namoda. Before the campaign, Halima’s mother, Amina, was hesitant about the vaccine due to widespread misconceptions. However, after attending a community outreach session led by a C-WINS-trained Vaccine Champion, Amina understood the importance of the vaccine in protecting her daughter from cervical cancer.

“I was afraid at first,” Amina recalls. “But after learning more about the vaccine, I knew it was the best choice for Halima. I am grateful to C-WINS for educating us and providing this life-saving vaccine.”

Halima, along with her friends, received the vaccine at her school. The process was smooth, and the girls were excited to be part of something that would protect their health. “I feel happy and safe knowing I am protected,” Halima says with a bright smile.

The success of this campaign goes beyond the numbers. It represents hope, protection, and a brighter future for over 9,000 girls like Halima. Through meticulous planning and collaboration with community leaders and healthcare professionals, C-WINS navigated logistical challenges and cultural barriers, ensuring widespread vaccine coverage.

C-WINS’ commitment to enhancing community health and well-being through innovative and impactful initiatives is evident in the success of the HPV vaccination campaign in Zamfara State. This achievement underscores the importance of community engagement and the role of youths in driving public health initiatives. By protecting these girls today, C-WINS is ensuring a healthier, cancer-free future for the women of tomorrow.

The HPV vaccination campaign in Kaura Namoda LGA is a significant milestone in the fight against cervical cancer in Zamfara State. It highlights the vital role of organizations like C-WINS in collaborating with stakeholders to combat preventable diseases and promote health equity in Nigeria.

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