GAVI Alliance Adds HPV Vaccine to Portfolio

Dr. Seth Berkley – CEO, GAVI Alliance
Seth Berkley joined the GAVI Alliance as CEO in August 2011. Prior to joining the GAVI Alliance, Seth was the founder, president and CEO for 15 years of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), the first vaccine product development public-private sector partnership.

A woman dies every two minutes from cervical cancer. Of the 275,000 women who die every year from this disease, more than 85 percent of them live in developing countries, where there is little access to cervical cancer screening or treatment. At the GAVI Alliance we are working with our partners to change that.

We believe that women and girls should not die because they live too far from health services or cannot afford to pay for treatment. Equal access to vaccines is a top GAVI priority.

In 2013, the good news is that young girls (aged 9 to 13) living in poor countries can get access to the same protection from cervical cancer as girls living in wealthier nations. GAVI is supporting countries in introducing vaccines against the human papillomavirus (HPV), the cause of almost all cervical cancer.

GAVI is a public-private partnership that exists to save lives and protect people’s health by increasing access to immunization in poor countries. We work with countries’ governments and other partners, particularly the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), to help get vaccines to children who need them. In 2013, for the first time, our support will include HPV vaccines.

GAVI’s support for the HPV vaccine will help protect tens of millions of girls from cervical cancer, the leading cause of cancer deaths among women in developing countries. Cervical cancer impacts women in the prime of their lives, when their contribution to families, raising children and the economy is most important. As a doctor and as a father, I know that a child whose mother dies often has lower educational attainment, experiences poorer health outcomes and is more likely to live in poverty. As the CEO of the GAVI Alliance, I know that the HPV vaccine is an important new tool to help us accomplish our goal: a healthier future for all children.

That’s why GAVI and its partners are working with manufacturers to ensure that girls living in the world’s poorest countries have access to this life-saving vaccine at a price their economies can afford with GAVI support.

We expect to begin introducing the HPV vaccine in pilot projects in the world’s poorest countries (those with a gross national income per capita of U.S.$1,520 or less) in 2013 and nationally in 2014 in countries ready for roll-out. As a result, GAVI will ensure that women, wherever they are born, are protected from cervical cancer.