Human papilloma virus (HPV) is transmitted by direct contact, through oral, vaginal or anal sex. In Lebanon, recent HPV infection prevalence estimates are lacking. The latest study conducted in 2001 among 1026 Lebanese women found an extremely low prevalence of 4.9%.
With the absence of national guidelines in Lebanon regarding HPV vaccination, the adoption of a population-based HPV vaccination programme is debated in Lebanon on epidemiological, sociocultural, logistical and economic grounds. The debate has not been informed so far by any quantitative evidence regarding costs and outcomes. In this context, a group of students and researchers, including Dr. Salim Adib and Ghinwa Hayeck, from the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health at the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) of the American University of Beirut (AUB) conducted a cost–benefit analysis of a projected national human papilloma virus vaccination programme in Lebanon. This analysis contributes to generating quantitative evidence necessary for a decision regarding costs through locally available data.
According to the researchers, in order to run a “classical” cost–benefit analysis, gaps in Lebanon's health information system would need to be closed, in particular, with regard to the current dynamics of HPV infection in Lebanon, the specific mortality rate for cervical cancer and the staging at diagnosis. The analysis strongly suggests that massive HPV vaccination is not yet cost–beneficial, and will remain so for several years.