Launch of HPV Vaccination campaign in Laos

Lao Schoolgirls reading books

With the support of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI Alliance)

A new campaign to administer the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which protects against the sexually transmitted HPV - preventing infections that cause 70% of cases of cervical cancer, has been launched in Lao People's Democtractic Republic (PDR).

Every year 530’000 women worldwide are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and around 275,000 die from the disease, with 88% of deaths occurring in developing countries. Cervical cancer is projected to kill up to 430,000 per year by 2030 if left unchecked. 

The Lao PDR launched the new programme on Wednesday 2nd October, at a ceremony in Vientiane, which involved hundreds of infants and school girls.Girls who are not in school will also be identified and vaccinated. If successful, the demonstration project will lead the way to national roll out of HPV vaccines with GAVI support. About 13,000 girls will receive the HPV vaccine in the next year and the Lao PDR will also be introducing penumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) and innoculating 180,000 infants also in the next year. 

“These vaccines are a critical new part of our immunisation efforts. The pneumococcal vaccine helps to prevent pneumonia, which is the main cause of death and illness for Lao children under five years of age. The HPV vaccine will help prevent cervical cancer, one of the highest causes of cancer-related deaths in Lao women,” said Dr. Eksavang Vongvichit, Health Minister of Lao PDR. “The immunisation programme is helping us to achieve the maternal and child health Millennium Development Goals, which are a priority for Lao PDR.”

Find out about UICC's work with the Cervical Cancer Inititative here.

News story sources: Read more on GAVI Alliance's website and in the BBC News Story.