"There are many challenges in implementing the global strategy, but I am encouraged by the support that Member States have shown (…) and the excitement expressed by the opportunity to eliminate a disease that currently kills millions of women worldwide every year."
– Dr Princess Nothemba Simelela, Assistant Director-General for Strategic Programmatic Priorities: Cervical Cancer Elimination in an exclusive interview with UICC.
The World Health Organization (WHO) officially launched this afternoon the Global Strategy to Accelerate the Elimination of Cervical Cancer, at a virtual public event co-hosted by WHO leadership and the government of Australia. The country championed the resolution for the elimination of cervical cancer and is on target to eliminate the disease by 2035.
The event informed the public about the goals and targets set by the strategy, including the objective for countries to achieve 90% HPV vaccination coverage, 70% screening coverage and 90% treatment for cervical pre-cancer and cancer by 2030.
Women who have survived cervical cancer from all regions of the world and advocates who have fought the disease opened the event, joined by high-level speakers. The City of Geneva has added its voice by illuminating its landmark, the Jet d’Eau, in teal, the blue-green colour for cervical cancer.
WHO also released today a step-by-step guide on "Introducing and scaling up testing for human papillomavirus as part of a comprehensive programme for prevention and control of cervical cancer" as well as new estimates of the global burden of cervical cancer associated with HIV.
UICC communicated on this milestone for public health and women’s equality when the resolution was passed in August and provided members with a tool kit in several languages to assist them in reaching out to policymakers and media outlets.
UICC is uniquely placed to work with its diverse and global membership to drive national action, and invited members to share their plans in support of the launch. Many civil society organisations, academic institutions and cancer societies around the globe are holding celebratory events – large and small – to mark the launch of the global strategy today.
UICC also announced its own commitments, in particular to leverage its convening platforms over the next 10 years to maintain a spotlight on cervical cancer elimination and progress towards achieving the 2030 targets in all countries.
UICC aims to work closely with WHO to develop emerging best practices, innovations and recommendations for implementation and serve as a facilitator for harnessing the skills, expertise and global reach of our partners in the private sector to accelerate progress.
– Ulrika Årehed Kågström, Member of the UICC Board of Directors and Secretary General, Cancerfonden (Swedish Cancer Society)
As part of a Unitaid-funded consortium, led by Expertise France, UICC is helping to implement the Global Strategy through the SUCCESS project, Scale Up Cervical Cancer Elimination with Secondary prevention Strategy.
The objective is to prevent the development of cervical cancer in women infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV) and who present pre-cancerous lesions in early screenings and to provide treatment for these lesions.
The SUCCESS project currently focuses on four target countries: Guatemala, Philippines, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast.
(This article is an updated version of the news published on 26th October)