Grassroots HPV Vaccine Education in Phnom Penh, Cambodia: A Personal Reflection


  • Mira Namba Medical Student, School of Medicine, Keio University, Tokyo, Japan
  • Miyu Shinohara School of Nursing, Japanese Red Cross Kyushu International College of Nursing, Fukuoka, Japan
  • Samrith Sela MD.Hour Samrithsela Clinic and Consultation, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
  • Ken Khouch School of Business and Tourism, Phnom Penh International University, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
  • Yudai Kaneda School of Medicine, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan
  • Rei Haruyama MD. PhD. Bureau of International Health Cooperation, National Center for Global Health and Medicine, Tokyo, Japan



Cambodia, HPV vaccine, Papillomavirus Vaccines, Health Education, Vaccination, School Health Services, Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice, Cervical Neoplasms, Health Promotion, Public Health, Medical Student, Adolescent Health Services, Awareness., Preventive Health Services, Infection Control, Female, Program Evaluation, Health Policy, Vaccination Coverage, Health Surveys, Primary Prevention, Community Health Services


I visited two primary schools, and concerningly, more than half of the teachers had never heard of HPV or HPV vaccine. Furthermore, the students demonstrated limited knowledge of HPV or the vaccine to the extent that they struggled to comprehend the questionnaire. However, after I delivered a 15-minute lecture about HPV and the vaccine, it was encouraging to note an increase in the number of students expressing an intention to get vaccinated. It became clear that until now, health education, including sexual health, has not been sufficiently implemented in primary schools, and thus, knowledge about HPV has not been provided by teachers sufficiently. Therefore, expanding this type of educational intervention to deliver reliable information is necessary, prioritizing teachers and parents as targets, since the intention of teachers and parents is considered to have a significant influence on the vaccination of children. A world free of cervical cancer can only be achieved through continuous education and awareness initiatives especially at the grassroots level, such as I practiced in Cambodia, to facilitate informed decision-making.


Metrics Loading ...


World Health Organization. Life-saving HPV vaccine introduced nationwide into routine immunization schedule to prevent cervical cancer in Cambodia 2023 Available from:

Garon J, Wuddhika IV, Sreenivasan N, Wannemuehler K, Vutthikol Y, Chhorvann C, et al. Community-based household assessment of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination coverage and acceptability - HPV vaccine demonstration program, Cambodia - 2017. Vaccine. 2019;37(9):1202-8.

Namba M, Kaneda Y, Kawasaki C, Shrestha R, Tanimoto T. Underlying background of the current trend of increasing HPV vaccination coverage in Japan. Glob Health Med. 2023;5(4):255-6.

Namba M, Kaneda Y, Kotera Y. Breaking down the stigma: Reviving the HPV vaccination trust in Japan. QJM. 2023.

Kaneda Y, Namba M, Gyeltshen T. A call for bridging gender gap in HPV vaccination policies in Japan. Health Sci Rep. 2023;6(7):e1421.

Kaneda Y, Namba M. Potential Risk of Overlooking Biased Reporting of Vaccination against Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019: Lessons from Japan’s Experience with the Human Papillomavirus Vaccine. JMA journal. 2023.

Namba M, Kaneda Y, Iida M. Stagnation or safety? Reassessment of the human papillomavirus vaccination dosing regimen in Japan. Ther Adv Vaccines Immunother. 2023:11:25151355231216408

Rani U, Darabaner E, Seserman M, Bednarczyk RA, Shaw J. Public Education Interventions and Uptake of Human Papillomavirus Vaccine: A Systematic Review. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice. 2022;28(1).

World Health Organization. Cambodia 2021 Available from:

Voice of America. Education Ministry to Incorporate Mental Health, Sex Education into Curriculum 2020 Available from:,and%20more%20comprehensive%20than%20the%20existing%20biology%20class.

Lopez JR, Mukaire PE, Mataya RH. Characteristics of youth sexual and reproductive health and risky behaviors in two rural provinces of Cambodia. Reprod Health. 2015;12:83.

Soeung SC, Komagata T, Darapheack C, Kikuchi S, Obara H, Haruyama R, et al. Knowledge and practice for cervical cancer among female primary school teachers in Phnom Penh, Cambodia: A cross-sectional phone-based survey. GHM Open. 2022;2(1):25-30.

Masika MM, Ogembo JG, Chabeda SV, Wamai RG, Mugo N. Knowledge on HPV Vaccine and Cervical Cancer Facilitates Vaccine Acceptability among School Teachers in Kitui County, Kenya. Plos One. 2015;10(8):e0135563.

The image displays a colorful, handwritten poster that's used as a visual aid for a lecture, with annotations in the Khmer language. The poster contains a mix of diagrams, illustrations, and text. Central to the poster is a large pie chart, a section of which is highlighted, possibly indicating statistical data. Arrows branch out from the text boxes, suggesting connections or relationships between the concepts. Drawings of buildings, possibly representing institutions or clinics, are also present. Text and numbers underscore points, perhaps emphasizing statistical information or key facts related to the lecture's topic. The vibrant use of multiple colors for different sections of text and imagery indicates this is an educational tool designed to engage and inform viewers.


2023-12-03 — Updated on 2024-04-12

How to Cite

Namba, M., Shinohara, M., Sela, S., Khouch, K., Kaneda, Y., & Haruyama, R. (2024). Grassroots HPV Vaccine Education in Phnom Penh, Cambodia: A Personal Reflection. International Journal of Medical Students, 12(1), 103–105.