Africa Science News (12.06.12)
The GAVI Alliance will work with multiple developing countries to ensure that they have the infrastructure and capacity to fully vaccinate young women for the human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes most cervical cancers. About 275,000 women die from cervical cancer annually, and more than 85 percent of these deaths occur in developing nations. The demand for HPV vaccination has exceeded the supply in these locations, where routine preventive care—immunizations, screening, and treatment—is not available to many women.
GAVI will work with nations to identify the target groups who will receive HPV vaccination and to ensure that the infrastructure for fully administering the vaccinations is in place. Use of schools as a vaccination setting has been successful in pilot projects. Pilots will begin—primarily in sub-Saharan African countries—in 2013. GAVI’s goal is to immunize 1 million girls by 2012 and more than 30 million girls by 2020. GAVI has negotiated with manufacturers to supply the vaccine for $5 per dose in 2012, which is a 64 percent reduction in the market price. Rwanda and Uganda have already piloted vaccination efforts and will roll out programs in 2013.
Vaccinating girls before they become sexually active is a critical strategy to prevent cervical cancer. Estimates suggest that the HPV vaccination can prevent about 70 percent of cervical cancers.