HPV vaccine key to Every Woman Every Child, says UN Secretary General

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Human papillomavirus vaccine will spare millions of women from threat of cervical cancer

Dhaka, 15 November 2011 – The United Nations Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon has underlined the critical importance of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to the success of the Every Woman Every Child campaign, which aims to improve women’s and children’s health around the world.

"In June GAVI received over four billion dollars in pledges," said Ban-Ki Moon, speaking at the start of this week’s GAVI Alliance Board meeting in Bangladesh.

"These funds … can deliver a promise of a future free from the threat of cervical cancer to millions of young women thanks to the HPV vaccine. This is critical to the Every Woman Every Child campaign."

Safe and effective

Safe and effective vaccines offer protection against types 16 and 18 of HPV, which together cause some 70% of all cervical cancer cases -- a leading cause of cancer in women worldwide, claiming 275,000 lives in 2008.

"Immunisation is at the centre of the Every Woman Every Child Strategy and this Alliance is at the centre of immunisation," said GAVI Board Chair Dagfinn Hoybraten, welcoming the Secretary-General’s comments.

Ban-Ki Moon is visiting Bangladesh to showcase the country’s leadership in the Every Woman Every Child campaign, which aims to save the lives of 16 million women and children.

Unprecedented success

GAVI’s CEO Seth Berkley M.D. thanked the Bangladeshi Health Ministry for hosting the second of the GAVI Board’s bi-annual meetings in Dhaka (November 15-17) –- recognition of Bangladesh’s unprecedented success in achieving 95% coverage with routine immunisation.

In 2012, GAVI is expected to approve funding for Bangladesh to introduce pneumococcal vaccine into its national immunisation programme. The vaccine will provide protection against the leading cause of pneumonia, Bangladesh’s number one child killer.

"We hope that we will be soon be rolling out pneumococcal vaccine with you, given the importance of that to this country," said Dr Berkley, who is attending his first Board meeting since taking the helm at GAVI last August.

"Thanks to GAVI, we can save a baby from pneumonia and a woman from cervical cancer. We can save four million lives by 2020, and billions more in the future," said Ban-Ki Moon.

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