Cervical cancer screening. Credit: Rosebell Kagumire/IPS

An estimated 266,000 women die every year from cervical cancer, with over 85% of the deaths occurring among women in developing countries.

This number is expected to rise almost twofold to 416,000 by 2035 in developing countries if changes in prevention and control are not effected, leading global healthcare provider Merck Sharp and Dohme (MSD)/Merck, says.

The exposé was made during the World Immunization Week, a global awareness campaign launched by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2012, and commemorated in the last week of April, that aims at promoting the use of vaccines to help protect people of all ages against disease.

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The theme for African Vaccination Week 2016 is ‘Close the immunization gap. Stay polio free!’ focusing attention on the need to attain universal immunization coverage in the African region. The theme also marks the celebration of the important polio eradication milestone that has been reached in the African region.

For the second year running, the Close the Immunization Gap campaign will be celebrating the achievements to date with an emphasis on the unmet need amongst adolescents and adult vaccine uptake.

“Vaccines are one of the greatest public health success stories in history. For more than 100 years, our scientists have been discovering vaccines that have been impacting lives. By helping healthy people stay healthy, vaccines remove a major barrier to human an economic development,” said Farouk Shamas Jiwa, sub-Saharan Africa director for Policy and Corporate Responsibility at MSD/Merck.

‘Despite recent progress within African countries, there are still significant opportunities provided by immunization, particularly to help protect against human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer,’ a release by Africa Press Organisation (APO) on behalf of MSD/Merck states.


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