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Public Health

Jekaterina Kozačenko, Senior Laboratory Assistant at the Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) Institute of Public Health, received recognition for the best presentation at the 84th all-Ukrainian scientific medical students’ and young scientists' congress Medicine of the ХХІ Century organised by the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, which took place on 13-14 April this year.


Students and young researchers from all over the world were invited to participate in the congress to share their research in 15 healthcare-related sections. Kozačenko’s abstract “Recommendations for Girls to Be Vaccinated Against HPV in Latvia: The Role of Social Factors” was selected for oral presentation in the Epidemiology, Infectious Diseases and Laboratory Diagnostics section.

The incidence of cervical cancer in Latvia is currently the highest in Europe. The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination is an effective way to protect oneself against the development of the particular cancer, but the choice of vaccination is often influenced not only by the recommendations of healthcare specialists, but also by the views of family members and friends. The research objective was to investigate the association of social factors with recommendations to vaccinate against HPV. The research analyses data from the Latvian Population Health Habits Survey 2018, conducted by the Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

It was concluded that women are twice as likely as men to recommend vaccination to their daughters or the daughters of their friends. There is also a positive correlation with education level, i.e. people with higher education levels are more likely to recommend vaccination. Most of the survey participants who had not heard of HPV vaccination live in rural areas and have a lower level of income. There is also a correlation with regular gynaecological check-ups: women who have had a cervical screening test in the last three years are more likely to recommend the vaccine. It can therefore be argued that socio-demographic and economic factors, as well as regular gynaecological check-ups, are associated with people’s recommendations for HPV vaccination.

The researcher expressed gratitude to her scientific supervisor Assistant Professor Inese Stars for her help in the preparation of the conference presentation.