The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Commitments to mark historic step towards elimination of cervical concern increase

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently published an article on its website saying ‘new country, policy and program commitments, plus nearly 600 million U.S. dollars in new funding, at first-ever global forum offer a chance to save hundreds of thousands of lives by 2030.’

The organization added that in addition to a re-commitment by Indonesia other country commitments include: Democratic Republic of Congo commits to start introducing the HPV vaccine as early as possible using the WHOrecommended single-dose schedule. We also commit to do everything to get, as early as possible, to the cervical cancer elimination strategy immunization’s coverage target for girls aged 9 to 14 years. Ethiopia commits to implement a robust vaccine delivery strategy across the country, targeting at least 95% coverage in 2024 for all 14-year-old girls, regardless of their socioeconomic status, whether in school or out of school. The country also commits to screen 1 million eligible women every year for cervical cancer and to treat 90% of those screened, who present with positive precancerous lesions. Further, HPV single dose has been approved to be introduced this year and scaled up as part of the country’s Expanded Program on Immunization plans. Nigeria launched its HPV vaccine national program this year, adopting the single-dose schedule for girls 9 to 14 years old, and now commits to achieving at least 80% vaccine coverage of girls. They are committed to continuing to in crease coverage of the HPV vaccine through a robust delivery strategy that will meet the girls where they are. For girls who are in school, they will concentrate on schoolbased delivery; for girls that are not in school, they will commit to implementing outreach activities at key moments in the year, with the target of at least 80% coverage of girls targeted by 2026. The nearly US$ 600 million in new funding includes US$ 180 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, US$ 10 million from UNICEF, and US$ 400 million from the World Bank. A full list and description of commitments can be found here and will be updated throughout the forum. There are many challenges on the path to elimination. Due to supply constraints, delivery challenges and the COVID-19 pandemic, just one in five eligible adolescent girls were vaccinated in 2022. And while there are cost-effective and evidence-based tools for screening and treatment, fewer than 5% of women in many LMICs are ever screened for cervical cancer. Health system constraints, costs, logistical issues, and lack of political will have created obstacles to implementing comprehensive programs for cervical cancer prevention and treatment. These barriers have led to deep inequity: of the estimated 348 000 cervical cancer deaths in 2022, over 90% took place in LMICs. With governments and partners recommitting urgently to the global agenda, it is possible to reverse the tide and prevent annual deaths from rising to 410 000 by 2030, as currently estimated. To be continued Abu Inam Hashemi

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.