Prior to its planned introduction, we investigated predictors of baseline knowledge and acceptability of HPV vaccination among medical and allied health care students in Kano, northern Nigeria. A total of 410 medical, dental and allied health students completed structured validated questionnaires. Knowledge scores and acceptability of HPV vaccine were determined and adjusted odds ratios (AOR) for predictors of HPV knowledge and acceptability were derived from multivariate logistic regression models. Overall, 3.7% (n = 15), 30.7% (n = 126) and 65.6% (n = 269) of respondents had good, moderate, and poor knowledge of HPV, respectively. The majority 334 (81.5%) were willing to accept the HPV vaccine, but only 18 (4.4%) had received at least one dose of the vaccine. Knowledge of HPV was better among females, younger (<20 years) medical students, students at higher levels of study, sexually experienced students, and condom users. HPV vaccine acceptance was higher among female students in the faculty of allied health with a family history of cervical cancer and good or moderate knowledge of HPV. In conclusion, most students were willing to receive HPV vaccination, despite their sub-optimal level of knowledge and low vaccine uptake. We recommend piloting the HPV vaccine in health colleges and recruiting early adopters as peer educators and advocates.IMPACT STATEMENTWhat is already known on this subject? Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine has been introduced in over 80 countries in the past decade, but evidence suggests low awareness of HPV infection and the vaccine, especially in developing countries. Nigeria proposes to introduce the HPV vaccine as part of the routine immunisation program in early 2021.What do the results of this study add? The majority of medical and allied health students in Kano, Nigeria, were willing to receive HPV vaccination, despite their sub-optimal level of knowledge and low vaccine uptake. Vaccine acceptance was predicted by the respondent's sex, course of study, family history of cervical cancer and knowledge of HPV.What are the implications of these findings for clinical practice and/or further research? The findings could inform program implementation and evaluation as HPV vaccine uptake is scaled up across Africa.
Keywords: Human papillomavirus; Nigeria; acceptability; medical students; vaccine.