Prioritise ensuring access to HPV vaccines, GAVI Alliance urges policymakers


GAVI Alliance says the 2021 International Day Of the African Child is an opportunity to encourage policymakers to prioritise accessibility to Human Papillomavirus Vaccines (HPV) as well as cervical cancer screening.

Chief Executive Officer, GAVI Alliance, Dr. Seth Berkley, made the call in statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in commemoration of the day in Abuja.

According to him, the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified global inequities in healthcare.

He said that since 2012, GAVI had played a key role in the elimination of cervical cancer through its support for the introduction of the HPV vaccine worldwide for girls aged between nine and 14.

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Berkley added that cervical cancer was largely preventable and easily treated if identified early.

He said, however, that poor access to prevention through vaccination against human papillomavirus, screening and treatment was estimated to contribute to around 90 percent of cervical cancer deaths in Africa.

NAN reports that the day has been celebrated on June 16 every year since 1991, when it was first initiated by the defunct Organisation of African Unity to honour those who participated in the Soweto uprising of 1976.

The day was aimed at raising awareness of the situation of children in Africa and on the need for continuous improvement in education. It was targeted at encouraging the spirit of abundance to share something special with a child in Africa.

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On June 16, 1976, in Soweto, South Africa, thousands of black schoolchildren took to the streets to protest about the inferior quality of their education and to demand their right to be taught in their language.

Hundreds of them were shot down and in the two weeks of protest that followed, more than a hundred people were killed and more than a thousand injured.



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