• World Cancer Day 2013: dispelling the myths

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  • Working to prevent cancer

    On 4 February, the GAVI Alliance joined its partners to celebrate World Cancer Day and help dispel the myths about cancer, such as the idea that cancer is a non-communicable disease. As many as 1.9 million cancer cases a year are believed to be caused by infections.

    Hepatitis B (hepB) vaccine, for example, is more than 50 times more infectious than HIV and a major cause of liver cancer across the globe. As many as two billion people alive today are estimated to have been infected with hepB, while 350 million are chronically infected. More than a quarter of these people will go on to develop liver cancer or cirrhosis of the liver, which together kill 900,000 people each year.

    Similarly, almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), a common and highly infectious sexually transmitted agent. Of the 275,000 women and girls who die of cervical cancer every year, 85% live in the world’s poorest countries. If left unchecked the number of deaths is expected to rise to 430,000 by 2030.

    Since its launch in 2000 GAVI has been working with its partners to protect children from infectious cancers:

    HepB vaccine: GAVI support has enabled an additional 330 million children to be vaccinated against hepB

    HPV vaccine: on February 4, GAVI approved support for HPV vaccine demonstration programmes in eight countries, with the long-term goal of vaccinating 30 million of the world’s poorest women and girls by 2020.

  • Vaccinating against cervical cancer: HPV in Rwanda

    Cancer facts

    One in six or nearly two million of all cancer cases worldwide are caused by chronic infections like hepatitis B and human papillomavirus; in some parts of sub-Saharan Africa, it is as many as one in three.

    Safe and effective vaccines already exist for hepatitis B and human papillomavirus, while new vaccines are in the pipeline for other infections like hepatitis C, Helicobacter pylori and Epstein-Barr which can cause lymphomas.

    In its first ten years, GAVI helped to spur a price reduction for hepatitis B vaccines of US$ 0.56 per dose to $0.18 per dose, a drop of 69%.

    Hepatitis B (hepB) vaccines are more than 95% effective at protecting infants, children and young adults from hepB infection, which is responsible for the vast majority of the 700,000 deaths liver cancer deaths each year.

    With GAVI’s help 330 million additional children have been immunised against hepatitis B since 2000, preventing more than three million premature deaths.

    Cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among women in GAVI-eligible countries, killing 275,00 women and girls every year. Virtually all cervical cancer cases are caused by chronic HPV infection.

    If left unchecked, the number of deaths from cervical cancer is expected to rise to 430,000 women each year by 2030. From 2013 GAVI is supporting the introduction of human papillomavirus vaccines that can against 70% of cervical cancer cases, with the aim of immunising over 30 million girls by 2020.

  • Learn more about the HPV vaccine demonstration programmes that GAVI has approved for support in eight countries

    Target districts: largely rural Dangme West in the south of the country | predominantly metropolitan Tamale Metro in the north

    Target district: Kitui County

    Target population group: 18,000 girls aged 9-13

    Target districts: Vientiane Municipality | Vientiane Province.

    Target districts: Soavinandriana rural district | Toamasina 1 urban district

    Target districts: Zomba | Rumphi

    Target population group: more than 10,000 girls per year starting September 2013

    Target districts: Niamey II | Madarounfa

    Target population group: 19,000 11-year-olds per year

    Target district: Bo state

    Target population group: mixture of school age, health facility and outreach

    Target districts: Moshi urban, Moshi rural, Hai & Siha, Rombo in the Kilimanjaro region

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