Awareness of cervical cancer and HPV vaccination and its affordability among rural folks in Penang Malaysia

Chung Lee Khoo, Strahan Teoh, Abdul Khan Rashid, Ume U Zakaria, Suraya Mansor, Farida N M Salleh, Maisyatun N M Nawi
Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention: APJCP 2011, 12 (6): 1429-33

INTRODUCTION: As the second most common cancer in women worldwide, cervical cancer causes major health and economic burdens. Recent introduction of HPV immunization program locally has been encouraging but vaccine uptake remains poor. In addition, no study has been conducted to explore the people' s awareness and knowledge on cervical cancer, HPV and its vaccine in a rural setting in Malaysia after the inception of the HPV vaccination program.

OBJECTIVE: This study was conducted to determine the awareness of cervical cancer, HPV vaccination and its affordability among people in a rural area in Malaysia.

METHOD: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 116 participants in a village in Penang. All consenting female villagers aged 13 years and above, and males who were married were interviewed using a questionnaire.

RESULTS: Most participants (88.8%) had heard of cervical cancer, however only 29.3% and 42.2% of them had heard of HPV and HPV vaccination respectively. Only 5.2% knew the actual market price for the vaccine. They were willing to pay an average of RM 96.7 (USD $27.7) for the full course of vaccination if it is not given to them for free, whereas the market price is RM1200 (USD $342.85).

CONCLUSION: Awareness among the Malaysian population in a rural setting on HPV and HPV vaccination is low. Educating the public on the infection can help control the illness. Cost of the HPV vaccine is a serious barrier to the success of the vaccination program in Malaysia.

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