MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

Global Forum on Cervical Cancer Prevention urges HPV vaccine availability

An urgent "Call to Action" was released at the Global Forum on Cervical Cancer Prevention on Monday, urging for universal access to cervical cancer preventative methods.

Cervical cancer causes the death of 270,000 women annually. Countries with the highest rates of prevalence are poorer countries, such as India and Africa, although women from around the world are affected. More than 70 companies came together Monday to discuss this urgent "Call to Action."

"This is a wonderful beginning in protecting girls from the world's poorest countries against one of the leading cancer killers of women" CEO of GAVI Alliance Seth Berkley said. "And the new low price we negotiated for the HPV vaccine allows us to immunise more girls and takes us a step closer towards sustainability."

South Africa, which does not qualify for GAVI funding, announced it would also be taking part in the initiative and would vaccinate girls between nine and ten years old against cervical cancer. South Africa sees more than 3,000 women die from cervical cancer annually.

The initiative is made possible with the help of the World Health Organization, which has set a goal of having half of the 75 focus countdown countries receive access to the HPV vaccine by 2015.

"Preventing cervical cancer is about women's rights to health, and equity in development," Incoming Chair of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Graca Machel said.