Last year, the global health association GAVI Alliance, formerly known as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, prioritised the purchase of cervical cancer vaccines for the world’s 73 lowest-income countries. GAVI includes UN agencies, the World Bank and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as major buyers of vaccines for the developing world.
Indonesia's Badung regency have been spearheading cervical cancer vaccination efforts, one of the most common types of cancer in women. More than 80 percent of the estimated 280,000 annual cervical cancer deaths occur in developing countries. In the west, early diagnosis and treatment has slashed the disease’s incidence.
The cervical cancer vaccine prevents women and girls from getting the human papilloma virus (HPV) that is associated with the development of cervical cancer, genital warts and some less common forms of cancer.
Around 1,500 female school students in Badung regency received a free cervical cancer vaccination, making it one of the first mass cervical cancer vaccination program ever held in Indonesia. Prior to the program, students attended a workshop on the dangers and prevention of cervical cancer.
Badung regency has allocated Rp 1.7 billion (USD 176,800) for the procurement of vaccines for the first phase, while in the second stage the regency plans to disburse Rp 5 billion for the vaccines. The free vaccination program used Cervarix vaccine, which was recently approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), meaning that UN agencies and partners can now officially buy millions of doses of the vaccine for low-income countries worldwide.