Article abstract

Introduction: the principal burden of human papillomavirus (HPV) infections is cervical cancer. Cervical cancer ranks as the fourth most common malignancy in women affecting 500,000 women each year with an estimated 266,000 deaths. Uganda has one of the highest cervical cancer incidence rates globally with an age-standardised incidence rate per 100,000 of 47.5. This study assessed the level and the factors associated with uptake of HPV vaccine by female adolescents in Lira district, Uganda.


Methods: a mixed methods approach was employed using a survey among 460 female adolescents. We collected data using an interviewer-administered questionnaire. We interviewed five key informants and conducted ten in-depth interviews. Uptake was defined as completing three doses of the vaccine as per the recommended schedule. Prevalence risk ratios were used as measures of association and were computed using modified poison regression. Content analysis was used for qualitative data.


Results: the mean age of the respondents was 13.97 (SD=1.24). Uptake was at 17.61% (81/460). The factors associated with uptake of HPV vaccine were: attaining ordinary level of education (aPR 1.48, 95%CI 1.11-1.97), positive attitude towards the vaccine (aPR 3.46, 95%CI 1.70-7.02), receiving vaccine doses from different vaccination sites (aPR 1.59, 95% CI 1.10-2.28) and encouragement from a health worker (aPR 1.55, 95%CI 1.15-2.11) or Village Health Team (aPR 3.47, 95%CI 1.50-8.02) to go for the vaccine. Other factors associated with uptake of HPV vaccine included; the existence of community outreaches (aPR 1.47, 95%CI 1.02-2.12), availability of vaccines at vaccination sites (aPR 4.84, 95%CI 2.90-8.08) and receiving full information about the vaccine at the vaccination site (aPR 1.90, 95%CI 1.26-2.85).


Conclusion: HPV vaccine uptake was low in Lira district. Efforts to improve uptake of HPV vaccine should focus on ensuring a consistent supply of vaccines at the vaccination sites, health education aimed at creating a positive attitude towards the vaccine, sensitisation of the adolescents about the vaccine and conducting community outreaches.