How Rwanda Defied the Naysayers

In 2010, Rwanda became the first African country to launch a national cervical cancer prevention program, forging an agreement with Merck to vaccinate girls against the human papillomavirus virus.
Hurdles and doubts abounded: HPV is sexually transmitted—yet talking about sex is taboo in Rwanda. Rumors floated that the vaccine causes infertility. And even high-income countries like France and the US had only achieved moderate HPV vaccine coverage.
But Rwanda enlisted an army of educators—community health workers, nurses, teachers, and church leaders. Now 93% of Rwandan girls get the shot.
For a fascinating success story in the making, Sophie Cousins’ long read is also a must-read.

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