CRCAH project no: CD192
The University of Melbourne
Margaret Heffernan, OAM
- The University of Melbourne
- Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO)
- PapScreen Victoria
- Northern Territory Department of Health and Community Services (NTDHCS)
- Division of General Practice (Vic.)
- Chinese Women’s Association (Box Hill, Vic.)
- Victorian Cytology Service
- Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne
- Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne
- CRC for Aboriginal Health
The aim of the project was to identify issues among parents and guardians from three cultures in Australia, as well as General Practitioners (GPs) in Victoria and Aboriginal Health Workers (AHWs) in Central Australia and Victoria, towards the HPV vaccine. The project focused on three sample populations from Anglo, Chinese and Aboriginal descent. The vaccine – which is highly effective against the sexually transmitted HPV – is controversial because it is most effective when given to girls before sexual activity begins. It was important to understand the attitudes of consenting parents, GPs and AHWs in order to find the best ways to educate different communities and administer the vaccine in these communities. This will reduce opportunities for misunderstanding and misinterpreting the key message.
Summary of project outcomes
- The participation of two Aboriginal regions in the study resulted in high levels of vaccine uptake and empowered health professional, particularly AHWs, working in the regions. As a result, AHWs were able to educate their communities appropriately at the time of HPV vaccine mass immunisation.
- The research found that the education resources developed for the Northern Territory were not appropriate culturally linguistically for the Central Australian population. As a direct result of this finding, the NTDHCS committed funding to develop resources in five languages common to the Central Australian region, which will be driven by the study’s Aboriginal Advisory and Field Supervisors.
- Resources for the Victorian Aboriginal population were also developed concurrently by Victorian Aboriginal Study Advisor, Peta Reynolds. The material supported the AHWs in Central Australia who used the fact sheet for community education.
The project commenced in late 2004, when the HPV vaccine was at late stage 3 trials with an expectation that licensure and public availability to Australian communities would occur in 2008. The data collection and analysis was completed in 2007 and a final report was due in 2008.
- Heffernan, M. E., Garland, S. M. and Kane, M. A. 2010, ' Global reduction of cervical cancer with human papillomavirus vaccines: insights from the hepatitis B virus vaccine experience', Sexual Health, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 383–390.
- Kent, J., Heffernan, M. E., Silvers, J., Moore, E. and Garland, S. M. 2010, ' Role of the nurse immuniser in implementing and maintaining the National Human Papillomavirus ‘Cervical Cancer’ vaccine rollout through a school-based program in Victoria', Sexual Health, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 391–3.
- Fact Sheet: The HPV Vaccine and Aboriginal Communities (2008)