GAVI to fund HPV vaccinations in eight countries

On World Cancer Day, the GAVI Alliance announced that it will fund human papillomavirus vaccinations for more than 180,000 girls in eight developing countries.

GAVI said that the program will run in Ghana, Kenya, Laos, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Sierra Leone and Tanzania. The HPV vaccine demonstration programs will be GAVI's first attempt at slowing the spread of the world's leading cause of cervical cancer.

Each country will have the opportunity to test the national systems they have put in place to monitor and counter HPV.

"Introducing the HPV vaccine in developing countries is the start of a global effort to protect all girls against cervical cancer," GAVI CEO Dr. Seth Berkley said. "Of the 275,000 women who die of cervical cancer annually, 85 percent live in the world's poorest countries. Cervical cancer is one of the leading cancer killers of women in the developing world."

Unlike most vaccines, which are given to children under the age of five, the HPV vaccine is administered to girls at the age of 13. GAVI has plans to fund HPV vaccinations for more than one million girls through the use of similar pilot programs. It hopes to vaccinate more than 20 million in more than 40 countries by 2020.