"It is better to prevent than to cure" ~Malian Proverb

"It is better to prevent than to cure" ~Malian Proverb

Eliza's "Story-telling cloth" design for GAIA Vaccine Foundation's new Mother-Daughter Cervical Cancer Prevention Campaign in Bamako includes geometric flowering patterns based on mathematical multiples of 6 and 12 petals. Both numbers serve as reminders built into the pattern: girls need the 2nd dose of the vaccine 6 months after the first, and women need a follow-up screening 12 months after a normal screen.

In 2018, GAIA will launch the next phase of their Merck-supported research on cervical cancer in Mali. GAIA has partnered with the National Center for Immunization (CNI) to support the GAVI (Global Vaccine Alliance) HPV vaccine demonstration project. This Gates Foundation and WHO-funded initiative assists governments as they plan for national vaccination campaigns. If Mali is able to achieve over 90% vaccine coverage during the demonstration project, GAVI will approve the country for a national HPV vaccine program.

GAIA’s previous research on vaccine acceptance and preferences can play a critical role in the success of Mali’s HPV demonstration project. In May 2017, GAIA supported the CNI for delivery of the second dose of the HPV vaccine to 7,029 girls in Commune 1. The CNI was pleased with the 94% coverage rates; however, the CNI has focused their efforts on school vaccination programs that risk missing a significant sector of Malian girls who do not attend school. UNICEF estimates that up to 30% of girls may not be attending primary school. While this statistic may be higher in rural areas and lower in urban areas, GAIA’s upcoming program will evaluate methods to reach out-of-school girls with vaccination services.  GAIA’s study in 2018 will evaluate a paired “Mother-Daughter” cervical cancer prevention program that offers free cervical cancer screenings to women and HPV vaccinations to girls. During the year of the program, GAIA will support the following activities:

  • 5 new community clinics partnerships
  • Capacity building training for nurses, midwives, and peer educators
  • Educational outreach programs in the 5 neighborhoods with the "story-telling cloth"
  • Free cervical cancer screening and HPV vaccination
  • 6 months of follow-up services for the 2nd dose