Protecting Women In Underdeveloped Nations From Cancer

Cervical cancer HPV vaccination being made available to women in undeveloped nations

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) More than a quarter of a million women around the world die of cervical cancer every year. In this country, because of the Pap test, cervical cancer is much rarer.

A vaccine that helps prevent cervical cancer is now within reach of women in poor countries thanks to a public-private collaboration.

The efforts of the GAVI Alliance are making these vaccines available for about $4.50 US dollars per dose. In the US, the three vaccine series costs about $130 per dose or about $400 for all three shots.

The Alliance negotiated these new prices with Merck, the manufacturer of the Gardasil vaccine and GlaxoSmithKline, which manufactures Cervarix.

"Discuss your vaccination schedule with a doctor."

“In Africa, where facilities to diagnose and treat cervical cancer are few and far between, HPV vaccines will mean the difference between life and death for so many women in the prime of their lives,” said Richard Sezibera, MD, Secretary General of the East African Community, GAVI Board member and former Health Minister of Rwanda, in a news release.

The program will start within the month in Kenya, followed by Ghana, Lao PDR, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Sierra Leone and the United Republic of Tanzania. The vaccines will be available in Rwanda next year.

Vaccines will be available for girls between the ages of 9 and 13.

Seth Berkley, MD, CEO of the GAVI Alliance, said, “This is a transformational moment for the health of women and girls across the world. We thank the manufacturers for working with us to help make this happen.”

“By 2020 we hope to reach more than 30 million girls in more than 40 countries,” Dr. Berkley said.

Medical economist Adam C. Powell, PhD, president of Payer+Provider Syndicate, told dailyRx News, "Vaccines tend to be a very cost-effective way to reduce the prevalence of disease. Given the limited access to screening and treatment that exists in many developing countries, prevention through vaccination is often the most viable option," Dr. Powell said.

"As this reduced price is still rather unaffordable in many of the poorest countries,  donors such as The Gates Foundation are further subsidizing the costs," he added.

The GAVI Alliance is a public-private organization focused on extending the reach of vaccination programs around the world.

The group is funded by governments the Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Republic of Korea, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States, the European Commission and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation among other partners.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
May 9, 2013
Last Updated:
September 27, 2013