Without intervention the rising number of deaths from cervical cancer will exceed maternal mortality rates in the developing world.
As the world marks the fourth International Day of the Girl Child, Girl Effect and Gavi are announcing a ground-breaking US$ 10 million partnership to protect girls from contracting cervical cancer in developing countries.
Cervical cancer claims the lives of more than 266,000 women each year, 85% of whom live in developing countries. It is the leading cause of cancer-related death for women in 40 out of 48 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Although the HPV vaccine is often available, it is not reaching many of the girls who need it most.
Thousands of lives could be saved with access to the HPV vaccine. But supply alone isn’t enough. We also need to address the negative social norms that are preventing girls from taking up the vaccine.
While Gavi will support countries in purchasing HPV vaccines, Girl Effect will unlock demand by catalysing girls to demand immunisation against cervical cancer. We will do this through the power of our culture brands, which create the conditions to empower girls and encourage them to take what’s in their reach.
Longer term, the Girl Effect-Gavi partnership has an even bigger ambition: to leverage the power of brands to create greater trust in health systems, encouraging more girls to use health services at critical times in their lives.