Reposted from the World Health Organization – 76th World Health Assembly
WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, opened the 76th World Health Assembly (WHA76) with a reminder that “vaccines now give us hope of eliminating cervical cancer.” Echoing this sentiment, the delegation from Antigua and Barbuda informed the Assembly during a plenary session that their country is among the first in the Region “to procure HPV tests through PAHO’s strategic fund” and expressed an ambition to become the “first country in the Caribbean to reach the 90–70–90 goals.” The Assembly applauded as they concluded, “Antigua and Barbuda take this opportunity to encourage all of us to commit or have a renewed commitment to eliminate cervical cancer as a global public health [problem] by 2030.”
Similarly, during discussions on women’s, children’s, and adolescents’ health, Niger, which spoke on behalf of Member States in the African Region, updated the Assembly on progress in introducing the HPV vaccine. The Assembly also heard similar commitments to prevent cervical cancer from Bahrain and Samoa. Representatives from Namibia spoke to the inclusion of vaccination, screening, and treatment for cervical cancer in their reproductive health programmes; Brazil reaffirmed its “commitment to reducing preventable mortality and to prevent cervical cancer,” while China spoke to its national elimination effort and interim milestones.
Member States and partners come together for cervical cancer elimination on the side-lines of 76th World Health Assembly
On the side-lines of the World Health Assembly, the governments of Australia, Bangladesh, Colombia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Malawi and the United States, together with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Gavi, UNICEF, the World Economic Forum, and the ACTION Global Health Advocacy Partnership organized a side event to share perspectives on cervical cancer elimination.
WHO Assistant Director-General, Prof. Jérôme Salomon, who opened the discussion, stated: “Today, the World Health Organization once again reaffirms our commitment to pursue the elimination of cervical cancer. Indeed, with a resounding mandate from our Member States, we will not back down.” He noted that 50 countries have introduced the HPV vaccine since the Call to Action 5 years ago, and that an increasing number are incorporating HPV testing into programmes and training health care workers. He also applauded civil society’s response. Dr Bente Mikkelsen, WHO Director for Noncommunicable Diseases, shared an overview of the Global Strategy, the 90–70–90 targets, and reminded participants of the strategy’s directive: “It is time to implement at scale, worldwide.”
Chris Elias, President of the Global Development Division at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and one of the hosts, expressed the Foundation’s commitment to accelerating HPV vaccine introductions as part of the broader goal to eliminate cervical cancer. Stressing that adolescents have been a neglected part of the population in global health, he urged participants to work together to reach millions of girls with the HPV vaccine.