GAVI takes first steps to introduce vaccines against cervical cancer and rubella

Board decisions will benefit the health of women and children in developing countries

GAVI Alliance

DHAKA, 17 November 2011 – Responding to demand from developing countries, the GAVI Alliance will take the first steps towards the introduction of human papillomavirus (HPV) and rubella vaccines in developing countries, the GAVI Board announced on Thursday.

If negotiations to secure a sustainable price from manufacturers are successful and countries can demonstrate their ability to deliver the vaccines, up to two million women and girls in nine countries could be protected from cervical cancer by 2015.

Responding to projected demand from 30 countries and World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, the Board also agreed to open a funding window for vaccines against the rubella virus, which threatens pregnancies and child health. The plan is to reach 588 million children by 2015.

“These two initiatives have huge potential impact for women and families in the developing world,” said Seth Berkley MD, CEO of GAVI, which supports seven other vaccines.

“The HPV vaccine is critical to women and girls in poorer countries because they usually do not have access to screening to prevent cervical cancer and treatment taken for granted in richer nations. Today, we have taken deliberate first steps to correct this inequity,” he added.

The GAVI Board also said it will consider funding a vaccine against Japanese encephalitis once an appropriate vaccine is prequalified by WHO. The Board also said it looked forward to the development of an appropriate conjugate vaccine against typhoid.

During the two-day meeting in Dhaka, the Board also reviewed progress on the roll out of pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines, approved a new supply and procurement strategy, discussed new options for results-based funding and tailored solutions for countries with large numbers of unvaccinated children.

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