News / Africa

Protecting against Cervical Cancer

Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO, GAVI Alliance (Photo: GAVI)
Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO, GAVI Alliance (Photo: GAVI)

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +
Joe DeCapua
A new immunization campaign gets underway soon to protect 180,000 girls in developing countries from cervical cancer. The GAVI Alliance made the announcement Monday, World Cancer Day (2/4).


Most cervical cancer is caused by certain types of the human papillomavirus, or HPV. It’s transmitted through sex.

Dr. Seth Berkley says it takes an enormous toll.

“A woman dies every two minutes from cervical cancer. This kills more women than childbirth. The estimated number now is 275,000 women dying of this cancer each year – 85 percent in the developing world. This is a cancer that’s growing. So without an intervention the estimate was that there would be by 2030 430,000 deaths a year,” he said.

The GAVI Alliance CEO dispelled some myths about cancer.

“One of the interesting things, of course, is that cancers are considered to be non-communicable diseases and of course this is a misnomer. Although cancer is a disease that certainly sometimes is caused by genetic and other abnormalities, a larger percentage of the cancers actually are infectious. The other thing is that we think of cancer as being a disease of the developed world when in fact, of course, there’s an enormous amount of cancer in the developing world,” he said.

Many other vaccines are given to babies or very young children. The HPV vaccine is given to girls between the ages of nine and 13. It’s only effective before someone is infected with the virus.

If infection does occur, the virus may cause microscopic changes at the cellular level. A Pap test or Pap smear can detect those changes. However, the test, which examines a sample of cells from the cervix, may not be available to many women in developing countries.

“Eventually, then, a cancer begins to grow and that cancer will metastasize.  And when the cancer’s growing you begin to have symptoms like bleeding. And eventually, when it metastasizes, you have pain because you begin to affect other organs. By the time you have common symptoms it is usually already spread and is hard to deal with in a surgical fashion,” he said.

The alliance has chosen eight developing countries to begin administering the HPV vaccine:  Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Sierra Leone and Tanzania in sub-Saharan Africa and Laos in Asia.

“In this first round of support 180,000 girls will be vaccinated. First countries will be Kenya, Ghana and Sierra Leone. Not sure which one will start first, depending upon preparations. Tanzania’s going to be next year in 2014,” he said.

The vaccine will be administered as part of school programs. But Berkley said that efforts must be made to reach those girls not attending school.

“By 2015 we plan to support more than 20 countries to vaccinate approximately one million girls with HPV vaccines through these pilots. And then by 2020 we’re talking about 30 million girls in over 40 countries with GAVI’s support,” he said.

The GAVI Alliance is a public-private partnership specializing in greater access to immunization in developing countries. Negotiations are currently underway with pharmaceutical companies on the cost per dose for the HPV vaccine.

You May Like

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid