Lomé/Geneva, 27 November 2023: The Government of Togo, with the support of its partners, including Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi), the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), will introduce the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine its into routine immunisation system to prevent cervical cancer on Monday, 4 December 2023. Several other local partners, such as the Togolese Red Cross, Civil Society (Platform of Civil Society Organizations for Immunization and Vaccination in Togo - POSCVI) and the private health sector, are supporting this high impact immunisation milestone.

Prior to the introduction, a catch-up campaign is planned for girls aged 9 to 14. The campaign, which will run from 27 November to 1 December 2023, will reach approximately 656,240 girls within that age group. 

According to Globocan 2020's global estimates, cervical cancer is the third most common cancer in Togo in terms of incidence (19.1 cases/100,000), taking all forms of cancer into account, across both sexes, following prostate cancer (32 cases per 100,000) and breast cancer (30.7 cases per 100,000). It is also the second most common cancer in women (15.7%) after breast cancer. In 2022, almost two million women of childbearing age in Togo were at risk of developing cervical cancer.

The fight against cancer in general, and cervical cancer in particular, is a priority for the state, as set out in the national health development programme (PNDS 2023–2027). This prioritisation is due to the burden of morbidity and mortality associated with this disease, as well as to the existence of effective and proven primary prevention methods, such as the HPV vaccine, which can prevent up to 90% of cases of cervical cancer. To date, it has saved thousands of lives and safeguarded the futures of many adolescents around the world.

"In Togo, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women after breast cancer. Every year, an estimated 595 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, 417 of whom die of the disease. It is important to prevent this disease in young girls, hence the need for this catch-up campaign and for this vaccine to be introduced as part of routine immunisation. I would like to reiterate the government's gratitude to our partners for their multidimensional support," said Professor Moustafa Mijiyawa, Minister of Health and Public Hygiene.

"WHO recognises the magnitude of cervical cancer and other diseases associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) as major health problems. That's why in 2020, WHO committed to accelerating the elimination of cervical cancer alongside 194 countries around the world. WHO congratulates Togo on its move to introduce the human papillomavirus vaccine into routine immunisation. I can vouch for the WHO's commitment to supporting the implementation of national cervical cancer prevention programmes," said Dr Diallo Fatoumata Binta Tidiane, WHO Resident Representative in Togo.

For UNICEF: "The success of this introduction of the HPV vaccine requires the use of existing and innovative communication and social and behaviour change strategies taking into account the socio-cultural context of the country. In addition, communities and their leaders must be fully informed, engaged, and actively participate in the social mobilisation programme," added Dr Sidibe BA Aissata, UNICEF Resident Representative in Togo.

For UNFPA: "Vaccination against the human papillomavirus offers an opportunity to make the fight against cervical cancer a reality and thus save the lives of many women and reduce the socio-economic burden of this disease on families. This is why we strongly support this campaign and the integration with raising awareness among adolescents about menstrual hygiene."

"Adolescent girls across Togo can now receive the protection they need to live a life free of cervical cancer, as we take the first steps towards protecting an entire generation from the devastation this cancer brings," said Thabani Maphosa, Managing Director of Country Programmes Delivery at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. "I encourage all parents and communities to support their daughters as they embrace this opportunity to safeguard their futures."

Cervical cancer is a preventable disease. It is also curable if detected early and treated appropriately. WHO's Global Strategy to Accelerate Elimination outlines three key steps: vaccination, testing and treatment. To protect even more girls from cervical cancer globally, Gavi and its partners have launched an ambitious new plan to immunise 86 million girls in low- and middle-income countries by 2025.

Currently, 27 out of 47 countries in Africa have introduced the human papillomavirus vaccine. In West Africa, 10 out of 17 countries have already introduced it, including Senegal, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cape Verde, Nigeria, Mauritania and Gambia


For interview requests and any other information, please contact:

Laura Shevlin
+ 41 79 529 92 87

Cirũ Kariũki
+41 79 913 94 41

Dr BOKO Amevegbé Kodjo, Head of the Immunisation Division
+ 228 90360608 

BANASSIM K. Victorien, Communications Advisor to the Minister of Health

Dr LANDOH Dadja Essoya, Immunisation Adviser at the WHO Togo office
+228 90156271

Dr TOBOE Désiré; Coordinator of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in Togo 
+228 97265555 

Dr TOKE Yaovi, Immunisation Advisor at UNICEF Togo: 
+228 90196808 

Ms AFELI Abra, SRAJ Programme Officer 
+228 90 04 17 96 



Subscribe to our newsletter