Photo credit: Karel Prinsloo/Gavi
The GAVI Alliance has announced some exciting news – 10 more developing countries have been approved to be a part of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination program. This means an additional 206,000 girls will receive the vaccine to prevent HPV, the leading cause of cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer is the most common form of cancer in women in developing countries. About 266,000 women die every year from the disease - 85% of whom live in low-income countries. Deaths from cervical cancer are expected to rise to 416,000 by 2035, with over 95% occurring in poor countries, if nothing changes.
Because women in developing countries often don’t have access to cervical cancer screening and treatment, the HPV vaccine is a great prevention too. While more vaccines are given to children under the age of 5, the HPV vaccine is given to girls between the ages of 9 and 13. Girls will receive three doses of the vaccine over a six month period through school- and community-based programs. It is important to vaccinate girls before they become infected with the virus and before they become sexually active for the vaccine to work correctly.
The ten countries that are planning to start the program over the next three years are Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Gambia, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, Solomon Islands, and Togo. The addition of these programs will bring the total number of countries receiving support from GAVI to 21.
"HPV vaccine offers the best hope at protecting young girls from cervical cancer…," said Dr Seth Berkley, GAVI Alliance CEO. "Our goal is to ensure that the vaccine reaches girls no matter where they live."
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