After two weeks of school and community visits, the SBHF team vaccinated over 2,500 girls in the Fond-des-Blancs area
The vaccine that Merck has generously donated for this first-ever HPV vaccination campaign in southern Haiti is most effective when administered in two doses approximately 6 months apart. So in October the team will return to the same schools to administer the second dose to all of the girls who were vaccinated in this campaign. They will also do another smaller round of vaccinations for girls who are aging into the program over the summer - the HPV vaccine is generally given to girls age 9-13, so the students who will turn 9 over the summer will have a chance to participate starting in the fall.
Community and school leaders have been key partners in making the vaccination campaign a success. They all understand the value and opportunity that these vaccines offer for the girls, and have been working closely with SBHF's team to make sure that all of the girls in the target age group get vaccinated. St. Boniface Hospital staff are also closely involved to ensure the effectiveness and safety for all participants.
HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer, which in turn is the leading cause of death from cancer amongst Haitian women. The 2,500 girls who were vaccinated this month will be protected from this terrible disease beacause of the geneoristy of Merck's donation, and the hard work of SBHF's Community Health team. Thanks also to Kobo Toolbox, which provides free data collection tools that work offline and in low bandwitch settings like rural Haiti. The team used Kobo on Samsung tablets to create a customized data collection interface that allows us to track the campaign and make sure we can follow up with every girl for round two.
To help cover the costs of round two of the HPV vaccine campaign, and ensure that all of these girls get full protection from the disease, please contribute, or call our office at 617-244-9800 to learn more.