Cervical cancer poses a profound public health emergency in Africa, with devastating consequences, particularly for women who face alarmingly high mortality rates.

Recent data reveals staggering figures, with approximately 119,000 new cases and 81,000 deaths annually in Africa alone, making it the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women on the continent. In response to this urgent crisis, the Africa Health and Economic Transformation Initiative (AHETI), in partnership with health associations of sisterhoods across Africa, is spearheading a pivotal gathering in Nairobi.

The convening, scheduled from June 11th to 13th, 2024, at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya, aims to mobilize the influential voices of faith leaders and their communities to significantly increase the uptake of HPV vaccinations. This initiative seeks to dismantle the barriers obstructing effective prevention measures and pave the way for a future where cervical cancer no longer casts a shadow over the continent.

Collaborative Knowledge Building

The convening aims to foster a collaborative environment where faith leaders and health experts engage in meaningful dialogue to address concerns and challenges associated with HPV vaccination and cervical cancer prevention in Africa. Key actions include comprehensive research, analysis of religious and cultural norms around vaccination, interactive dialogues, and joint problem-solving sessions.

Capacity Building for Faith Leaders

Another vital objective is to equip faith leaders with the knowledge and resources to advocate effectively for HPV vaccination and cervical cancer prevention. This involves conducting training workshops, developing culturally sensitive resources, establishing support networks, and implementing follow-up systems to reinforce training.

Community-Centric Advocacy

The initiative prioritizes community-centric advocacy tailored to the unique cultural, ethical, and spiritual perspectives of African communities. This includes cultural sensitivity training, community consultations, development of tailored messages, and partnerships with local influencers to champion advocacy efforts.

Quality Assurance of HPV Vaccines

Ensuring the safety and efficacy of HPV vaccines is paramount. The convening will undertake expert conversations on vaccine evaluation, certification processes, public reporting, stakeholder engagement, and continuous monitoring to uphold the highest international standards.

Expected Outcomes

- Enhanced understanding and dialogue

- Empowered faith leaders and health experts

- Increased vaccine uptake

- Effective public health strategies

- Strengthened community trust.

The Nairobi Convening aims to enhance understanding and dialogue, empower faith leaders and health experts, increase vaccine uptake, develop effective public health strategies, and strengthen community trust. By leveraging the respected voices of faith leaders and combining them with the expertise of health professionals, this initiative endeavors to transform public health landscapes and significantly reduce the burden of cervical cancer across Africa.

In conclusion the Nairobi Convening represents a critical step toward addressing the cervical cancer crisis in Africa. By uniting faith leaders and health experts in a collaborative effort, this initiative holds the potential to save lives, promote informed decision-making, and usher in a future where cervical cancer is no longer a formidable threat to women's health and well-being in Africa.

Find the event programme {Here}

AHETI is an initiative of the Jesuit Justice and Ecology Network Africa (JENA) and the African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN), in close collaboration with their partners, the Yale University Global Justice Program, the AU Development Agency – NEPAD, Incentives for Global Health (IGH), the Association of Sisterhoods of Kenya (AOSK), Association of Religious of Uganda (ARU), Conference of Major Superiors Religious of Ghana (CMSRG) and the Zambia Association of Sisterhoods (ZAS).

For more information about the Cervical Cancer & HPV Vaccination Convening, visit the AHETI website {Here}.