WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

NCD Global Action Plan recognizes importance of vaccination

The 66th World Health Assembly endorsed a global action plan last week that acknowledged the importance of vaccination in battling the increasing number of premature deaths from non-communicable diseases like cervical cancer.

During the assembly, the 194 World Health Organization member states endorsed the 2013-2020 NCD Global Action Plan and the Global Monitoring Framework for NCDs. The Global Monitoring Framework identifies vaccines against human papillomavirus and hepatitis B as two indicators for the action plan's success in reducing NCDs by 25 percent by 2025. HPV is a key cause of cervical cancer and hepatitis B causes liver cancer.

The GAVI Alliance plans to vaccine more than 30 million girls with the HPV vaccine in more than 40 of the world's poorest countries by 2020. In the last 10 years, GAVI supported the immunization of 267 million infants against hepatitis B in developing countries. GAVI estimates that the campaign prevented 3.8 million future deaths from liver cancer in the world's poorest countries.

"The prevention of the infectious causes of cancer through hep B and HPV vaccines can help fight the rising global burden of cancer deaths," GAVI said. "GAVI welcomes the inclusion of hep B and HPV vaccines as indicators in the global monitoring framework. Vaccines in childhood and adolescence offer the best opportunity to prevent liver and cervical cancer in adulthood."

In September 2011, governments issued a political declaration at a high-level U.N. meeting stating that non-communicable diseases should be a global priority and committing to long-term action to address the crisis. The governments set an ambitious goal of a 25 percent reduction of premature deaths from NCDs by 2025.

The new monitoring framework, which was endorsed after a week of negotiations at the assembly, is expected to drive progress in the control and prevention of NCDs. The framework is also meant to provide the foundation for raising awareness, reinforcing political commitment, advocacy and promoting global action to stop NCDs.