The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization recently announced plans to vaccinate more than 30 million girls against human papillomavirus by 2020.
GAVI CEO Seth Berkley said that an estimated 275,000 women die annually from cervical cancer, the leading cause of which is HPV, Xinhua reports.
“If we don’t do better in prevention and treatment, it’s expected to increase by 430,000 deaths each year by 2030,” Berkley said, according to Xinhua. “The demand for HPV vaccines has exceeded expectations and we are looking forward to supporting developing countries in introducing these vaccines to protect adolescent girls against cervical cancer.”
Uganda and Rwanda are testing HPV pilot projects and plan to roll out the vaccine nationwide with the support of GAVI in 2014. By 2015, the public-private global health partnership plans to immunize approximately one million girls and start pilot programs in a large number of other countries.
“I am very happy to see that GAVI is investing in HPV vaccines and offering our African girls the same access to life-saving vaccines as girls in developed countries,” Christine Kaseba, Zambia’s first lady, said, according to Xinhua. “Too many girls are robbed of their future by this cancer. I am personally committed to do what it takes to ensure that girls have access to HPV vaccines.”
More than 85 percent of cervical cancer deaths occur in developing countries, where women typically lack access to cervical cancer screenings and treatment, Xinhua reports.