HPV prevention model takes shape in Africa

RWANDA has become the first African nation to implement a prevention program for cervical cancer, which includes both HPV vaccination for girls aged 12–15 years and HPV testing for women aged 25–45 years.

Merck has donated a three-year supply of 2 million doses of Gardasil, with more to follow at a discounted price, and diagnostics company Qiagen has donated 250,000 HPV screening tests, according to an editorial in The Lancet.

The deal showed “price negotiation with vaccine manufacturers is possible,” the editorial said.

“The arrival of HPV vaccines heralded a new era for cervical cancer prevention, but without financing mechanisms to make them affordable, their benefits will not be realised in many low-resource settings.”

Lancet 2011; 377:1544