Worldwide, cervical cancer affects 510,000 women each year with more than 288,000 deaths. About 80% of the 510,000 new cases occur in developing countries.
In the absence of screening programs, cervical cancer is detected too late and is fatal in almost all cases. Cervical cancer is the second most common cause of female cancer-related mortality worldwide, but the leading cause in developing countries.

For any stage of cervical cancer that goes beyond pre-cancerous, treatment always involves surgery usually coupled with either or both radiation therapy and chemotherapy. While the health burden caused by Human papillomavirus (HPV) – manifested as cervical cancer and genital warts – is apparent and documented, there has been very little (if any) documentation on non-health impacts of HPV-related illnesses on patient and their families. Non-health outcomes may include psychological, social, and economic aspects.

To address this gap, the AMP was commissioned by the Global Outcomes Research Department at Merck & Co. to carry out a study in Vietnam and Kenya to improve understanding of the impact of cervical cancer and genital warts in the developing world from an anthropological perspective. In Vietnam, the Center for Supporting Community Development Initiatives led the study while the Institute of Anthropology, Gender and African Studies, University of Nairobi was in charge of the study in Kenya.