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Press Release: 206,000 More Girls to Benefit from HPV Vaccine with GAVI Alliance Support

10 countries approved in latest round of HPV vaccine demonstration programmes

GENEVA – An estimated 206,000 girls in 10 developing countries are expected to benefit from the introduction of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which protects against the leading cause of cervical cancer, announced the GAVI Alliance on World Cancer Day.

The latest round of approved HPV vaccine introductions will see 10 countries begin targeted demonstration projects. The new approvals bring the total number of countries lined up to receive GAVI support for HPV vaccine to 21.

“HPV vaccine offers the best hope at protecting young girls from cervical cancer, one of the leading cancer killers of women in low-income countries,” said Dr Seth Berkley, GAVI Alliance CEO. “Current estimates show that by 2035 cervical cancer could claim the lives of 416,000 women each year, most of them living in developing countries. The good news is that since GAVI began supporting HPV last year, there has been a real surge in demand for this vaccine. Our goal is to ensure that the vaccine reaches girls no matter where they live.”

The ten countries planning to implement HPV vaccine demonstration projects over the next three years are Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, Solomon Islands, and Togo.

Three doses of the vaccine will be administered to girls in schools over a six month period while out-of-school girls will be reached through health facilities and community outreach programmes.

The demonstration projects provide countries with an opportunity to gain experience in reaching girls with vaccines outside the usual routine immunisation schedule and to make informed decisions about whether to apply for a national introduction. The wide reach of the immunisation programmes also provides an opportunity for countries to implement other health interventions that may benefit young adolescent girls.

An estimated 266,000 women die every year from cervical cancer, of which more than 85% live in low-income countries, according to the latest statistics published by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Without changes in prevention and control, cervical cancer deaths are expected to rise to 416,000 by 2035, with over 95% expected to be women living in poor countries.

Women in developing countries often lack access to cervical cancer screening and treatment, making HPV vaccine the best prevention tool against cervical cancer. Unlike most other vaccines, which are administered to children under the age of five, HPV vaccines are given to girls aged nine to 13. Vaccination against HPV is more effective before a person is infected with the virus. Immunising girls before initiation of sexual activity, that is before exposure to HPV infection, is a key strategy to prevent cervical cancer.

The World Cancer Day campaign, organised by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), has the tagline “Debunk the Myths”. The campaign is focusing on four general misconceptions around cancer which are common around the world, including the myth: “there is nothing I can do about cancer”. Several cancers are triggered by infections, including liver, cervical cancer, stomach and some lymphomas, some of which can currently be prevented with existing vaccines – hepatitis B vaccine against liver cancer and HPV vaccine against cervical cancer.

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Notes to Editors

Countries approved in first round of HPV demonstration projects in 2013 with GAVI Alliance support: Ghana, Kenya, Lao PDR, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Sierra Leone, United Republic of Tanzania, and Zimbabwe (10)

Country approved for national HPV introduction in 2013 with GAVI Alliance support: Rwanda (currently vaccinating with donated doses but switching to GAVI support in 2014)

GAVI Alliance
The GAVI Alliance is a public-private partnership committed to saving children’s lives and protecting people’s health by increasing access to immunisation in poor countries. The Alliance brings together developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry, technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private sector partners. GAVI uses innovative finance mechanisms, including co-financing by recipient countries, to secure sustainable funding and adequate supply of quality vaccines. Since 2000, GAVI has contributed to the immunisation of an additional 440 million children and the prevention of approximately 6 million future deaths. Learn more at www.gavialliance.org and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

GAVI is funded by governments [Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Republic of Korea, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States], the European Commission, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as private and corporate partners [Absolute Return for Kids, Anglo American plc., The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, Comic Relief, Dutch Postcode Lottery, His Highness Sheikh Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, JP Morgan, “la Caixa” Foundation, LDS Charities, Lions Clubs, OPEC and Vodafone].

Media Contacts:
Rob Kelly
Tel : +41 22 909 2978
Mob : +41 79 745 2031
rkelly@gavialliance.org

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