Yesterday, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) announced it would invest US$ 25 million in the GAVI Alliance for HPV programmes. This amount will be matched dollar for dollar by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), totaling a US$ 50 million investment in GAVI.
The announcement came from CIFF Chief Executive Michael Anderson at an event on HPV (human papillomavirus) in the UK parliament on June 4th. The first lady of the Republic of Mozambique, H.E. Dr. Maria da Luz Dai Guebuza, and the first lady of the Republic of Ghana, H.E. Mrs. Lordina Dramami Mahama joined the panel of speakers along with GAVI CEO Dr. Seth Berkley and Baroness Northover.
HPV is the most common cause of cervical cancer, responsible for 266,000 deaths in women every year. More than 85% of these deaths occur in developing countries, where cancer screening and treatment are severely limited. The availability of an effective vaccine to prevent HPV is a cost-effective strategy to prevent cervical cancer and one of the vaccines supported by the GAVI Alliance. The World Health Organisation recommends that girls aged between 9 and 13 are vaccinated with HPV as part of the national immunization programme in countries where cervical cancer is a public health concern.
Michael Anderson described the double benefit of HPV vaccine in protecting against a terrible condition, while also providing adolescent girls with the opportunity to access other health services, often for the first time in many years. GAVI intends to reach 30 million girls with HPV in 40 countries by 2020, providing it is fully funded to implement its next strategy. Last month GAVI launched its replenishment, calling on donors around the world to fill the US$7.5 billion funding gap. As a leading donor to GAVI, the UK has a vital role to play in supporting GAVI to increase access to HPV vaccines, along with other vaccines to protect children from leading causes of death.
CIFF pledged US$ 7 million to GAVI’s during its last strategic period for 2011-2015, therefore the US$ 25 million pledge made yesterday represents an impressive increase for CIFF. Such an announcement in the UK parliament sets the scene for what we hope will be an exciting replenishment period for GAVI and look forward to what the UK has in store.