Background: Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) face a number of challenges in implementing cervical cancer prevention programmes that do not apply in high-income countries.
Objective: This review assessed how context-specific challenges of implementing cervical cancer prevention strategies in LMICs were accounted for in existing cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) models of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination.
Methods: The databases of MEDLINE, EMBASE, NHS Economic Evaluation Database, EconLit, Web of Science, and the Center for the Evaluation of Value and Risk in Health (CEA) Registry were searched for studies published from 2006 to 2015. A descriptive, narrative, and interpretative synthesis of data was undertaken.
Results: Of the 33 studies included in the review, the majority acknowledged cost per vaccinated girl (CVG) (26 studies) and vaccine coverage rate (21 studies) as particular challenges for LMICs, while nine studies identified screening coverage rate as a challenge. Most of the studies estimated CVG as a composite of different cost items. However, the basis for the items within this composite cost was unclear. The majority used an assumption rather than an observed rate to represent screening and vaccination coverage rates. CVG, vaccine coverage and screening coverage were shown by some studies through sensitivity analyses to reverse the conclusions regarding cost-effectiveness, thereby significantly affecting policy recommendations.
Conclusions: While many studies recognized aspects of the particular challenges of HPV vaccination in LMICs, greater efforts need to be made in adapting models to account for these challenges. These include adapting costings of HPV vaccine delivery from other countries, learning from the outcomes of cervical cancer screening programmes in the same geographical region, and taking into account the country's previous experience with other vaccination programmes.