Cervical cancer prevention in Africa: A policy analysis

Rifa Akanda, Paul Kawale, Corrina Moucheraud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Cervical cancer is a major public health challenge in Africa. We analyzed the presence and content of policies for the primary, secondary and tertiary prevention of cervical cancer in Africa, to identify areas of opportunity for policy strengthening in the region most affected by cervical cancer globally. Methods: We searched for publicly-available policy documents among countries in Africa. Using a data extraction form, we gathered data from these policies about key elements of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention approaches and activities based on World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. We also contacted key stakeholders in each country to confirm these details. We summarized each country's policy details (summed score for each prevention stage and overall), and compared these scores across individual countries and groups of countries based on economic, policy and public health characteristics. Results: Most countries had at least one policy addressing some aspect of cervical cancer prevention. Primary and secondary prevention were more commonly addressed, and certain details like age of vaccination, screening age/interval and method, were frequently mentioned in these policies. Conclusion: Countries with high HIV burden and relatively more donor financing for health had more comprehensive cervical cancer policies; there was no apparent association with cervical cancer mortality, female representation in government, or economic indicators (poverty prevalence or income inequality). Policy summary: There is room to improve cervical cancer policy comprehensiveness in Africa, and to bring these policies in line with evidence and expert recommendations. This analysis is timely given upcoming monitoring of the WHO Global Strategy to Accelerate the Elimination of Cervical Cancer as a Public Health Problem. These findings suggest some improvements in African cervical cancer policy, including increased inclusion of vaccination, but many topics remain under-specified. The influence of internal and external factors on policymaking should also be considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100321
JournalJournal of Cancer Policy
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Africa
  • Cervical cancer
  • HPV vaccine
  • Policy
  • Prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Health Policy


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