Prevention and control of HPV infection and HPV-related cancers in Colombia- a meeting report

BMC Proc. 2020 Jun 22;14(Suppl 9):8. doi: 10.1186/s12919-020-00192-2. eCollection 2020.


The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Prevention and Control Board is an independent multidisciplinary board of international experts that disseminates relevant information on HPV to a broad array of stakeholders and provides guidance on strategic, technical and policy issues in the implementation of HPV control programs. In response to drastic drop of vaccine coverage following the adverse event crisis in Carmen del Bolivar, Colombia, the HPV Prevention and Control Board in collaboration with the Colombian National Cancer Institute and Colombian League Against Cancer convened a meeting in Bogota, Columbia (November 2018). The goal of the meeting was to bring together national and international group of experts to report the disease burden, epidemiology and surveillance of HPV and HPV-related cancers, to discuss the successes and especially the challenges of HPV vaccination and screening in Colombia, as well as the lessons learnt from neighbouring countries. The meeting provided a platform to confer various stakeholder's perspectives, including the role of the Colombian healthcare system and to catalyse various parts of the public health community in Colombia into effective action. The conclusion of the meeting included following suggestions to strengthen HPV prevention and control: 1) Re-introducing school-based vaccine programs, 2) Integrating primary and secondary prevention programs, 3) Developing an innovative crisis communication plan targeting healthcare workers, teachers and general population, 4) Building trust through efficient and timely communication, 5) Building strong relationship with media to ensure a stable vaccination campaign support, and 6) Promoting empathy among healthcare professionals towards patients to build trust and communicate effectively.

Keywords: Cervical cancer prevention; HPV; Human papilloma virus; Screening; Vaccination.