News / Health

Laos HPV Vaccine Campaign Aims to Curb Cervical Cancer

FILE - Gardasil, a Human Papillomavirus vaccine.
FILE - Gardasil, a Human Papillomavirus vaccine.
Ron Corben
One of the world’s leading immunization groups is launching a new program aimed at vaccinating girls in Laos against human papillomavirus, or HPV, to curb rising rates of cervical cancer. The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) said developing countries in South East Asia, such as Laos and Burma, still face major challenges in implementing vaccination programs.
                        
The three-injection vaccination costs about $120 per shot in the United States and is typically given to girls nine to 13 years old.
 
In Laos, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization has been able to reduce the cost to less than $5 per shot, making it feasible to protect women against the virus that can lead to cervical cancer.
 
In Laos about 500 women a year are diagnosed with cervical cancer triggered by HPV. As many as half of them are expected to die from the cancer.
 
GAVI Alliance deputy chief executive Helen Evans said the HPV vaccination project being launched this week in Laos follows other programs in place in Africa and South Asia.  "This is a vaccine that's incredibly effective and can prevent about 70 percent of the cancers," she explained. "And as I said, cervical cancer is becoming the number one killer of women so ironically as maternal mortality is dropping because of other interventions, deaths from women in child bearing age, parenting age, is rising."
 
According to data compiled by the World Health Organization (WHO), Laos has a maternal mortality rate more than double the global average.
 
Laos is one of several countries that qualify for assistance from the GAVI Alliance. The alliance brings together developing countries and donor governments, WHO, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), World Bank, the vaccine industry and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
 
Since its launch in 2000, the group has helped support the immunization of some 370 million children in developing countries, and helped  prevent more than 5.5 million future deaths from diseases such as Hepatitis B, influenza, measles, whooping cough, rotavirus and polio.
 
GAVI's Helen Evans in South East Asia said logistical problems and other issues remain a challenge for health policy makers.  "Vaccination is perhaps the best investment a country can make in their children's health. Healthy children are able to take the benefit of education, they grow up to be adults, productive adults, so its poverty reduction, its social economic development investment," she said.
 
Indonesia and Burma face challenges in vaccine delivery despite recent progress. Indonesia’s five million annual births, spread over the country’s 6,000 islands, make it difficult to carry out comprehensive vaccinations.
 
In Indonesia, GAVI partnered with a local pharmaceutical company to produce a pentavalent vaccination that protects children against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, hepatitis and influenza.
 
Evans said Burma is still adjusting to an outpouring of international assistance following its political reforms. Its health budget, long neglected under past military-led governments, has been substantially increased. She added that the challenge for Burma now is to ensure that local staff are effectively trained to immunize.
 
Evans said workers are also trying to conduct health surveys in often remote and difficult regions to successfully target future immunization needs.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid