If a sustainable price with manufacturers can be agreed, and countries can demonstrate their ability to deliver the vaccines, up to two million women and girls in nine countries could be protected from cervical cancer by 2015.
The GAVI Board also agreed to fund vaccines against the rubella virus, which threatens pregnancies and child health. The plan is to reach 588 million children by 2015.
“These two initiatives have huge potential impact for women and families in the developing world,” said Seth Berkley, CEO of GAVI. “The HPV vaccine is critical to women and girls in poorer countries because they usually do not have access to screening to prevent cervical cancer and treatment taken for granted in richer nations. Today, we have taken deliberate first steps to correct this inequity,” he added.
Highly transmissible, HPV causes approximately 275,000 cervical cancer deaths each year, of which 88% occur in developing countries. Experts say this figure could increase to 430,000 by 2030 if action is not taken. Safe and effective HPV vaccines may prevent 70% of cervical cancer cases. HPV also causes other more rare cancers in both men and women.
Addressing the GAVI Board on 15 November at an event organised by the Bangladeshi Health Ministry, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon encouraged the Alliance, other global health partners and the pharmaceutical industry to “deliver the promise of a future free from the threat of cervical cancer to millions of young women thanks to the HPV vaccine.”
“Investing in their health and their future is the best investment we can make,” Mr Ban added, a year after he launched his Every Women Every Child strategy which GAVI pledged to support with vaccines including HPV and rubella.
In a recent study published last week and covered by the Guardian, academics calculated that it will cost $14.2 billion to keep 3.5 million people living with HIV/AIDS alive on antiretroviral drugs. While this may seem like a lot, the authors argue that in addition to the health benefits gained, this investment would increase economic productivity and the gains have the potential to significantly offset the costs. The study demonstrates that AIDS treatment is, in fact, good value for money.
Providing antiretroviral treatment to HIV/AIDS patients allows them to continue living a health life. Parents living with HIV are able to raise their children and go to work, enabling them to provide for their families. In addition, providing treatment to PLWHA delays end-of-life medical care which could amount to $34 billion in savings. Tuberculosis and other infections afflict those with HIV at the end of life, so funding treatment options is vital to delay these extra medical costs.
However, although investing in HIV/AIDS treatment not only saves lives and results in economic benefits, the UK Government is cutting back on bilateral aid for HIV/AIDS in developing countries by almost a third over the next four years, according to recent figures published on DFID’s Global Development website. Funding will drop by nearly 85% in Asia and 17% in Africa, despite a 92% rise in Britain’s bilateral aid for global health. It is looking likely that the UK will rely on investments from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria to make up for any shortfall.
DFID is currently prioritising reproductive, maternal and newborn health. But arguably, cutting funding to AIDS, TB and malaria will have a detrimental effect to the achievements of these health areas and undermine the progress of the MDGs. Not only do women’s social roles make them more susceptible to developing TB, but pregnant women living with HIV and TB face far higher risks of maternal mortality. TB is the third leading cause of death among women and when combined with HIV, with an often fatal result. RESULTS UK and the International HIV/AIDS Alliance have both expressed their concerns to the Guardian, where the full article can be read.
Education is the best poverty-fighter; it has been calculated that if all students in low-income countries left school with just basic reading skills, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty – which would represent a 12% cut in global poverty.
In November the Education for All Fast Track Initiative (shortly to be renamed the ‘Global Partnership for Education’) is holding a pledging conference where they will call on donor nations to provide additional resources for education in low-income countries. The FTI is asking donors to provide $2.5 billion for their Global Fund for Education, and they recently released details of what they are hoping to achieve in the FTI replenishment case for investment. Through the replenishment the FTI want to pay for:
Enrolling an additional 25 million children in school, which will mean halving the population of out of school children in all FTI countries;
Increasing primary school completion rates by 7.5%;
Reducing the number of children in grade 3 who cannot read by 50% in 20 countries;
Providing 50 million new textbooks; and
Increasing the numbers of teachers by providing in-service training to 600,000 new teachers.
The really exciting thing is the knock-on effects that this investment would have. Already we have seen the enrolment and completion rates for girls shooting up in FTI countries. Educating women has proven the best tool in the fight against child and maternal mortality over recent decades. As well as reducing overall poverty, through the new investment the FTI will save the lives of 350,000 children and 14,000 women every year.
At the beginning of August RESULTS launched a campaign to build support for the FTI replenishment. If you haven’t already, you can learn more and take action here.
On May 19th, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria released their new results report, impressively illustrating how the Global Fund has saved 6.5 million lives over the past eight years.
Between 2002 and the end of 2010 the Global Fund has approved US$ 21.7 billion for grants in 150 countries. The funded programmes provided lifesaving antiretroviral therapy to 3 million people, detected and treated 7.7 million cases of tuberculosis, and distributed 160 million insecticide-treated nets.
Executive Director of the Fund, Professor Michel Kazatchkine, said: Continue reading →
For those of you following RESULTS’ work on securing support for the GAVI Alliance, you will remember our February action was to write to MEPs to ask them to support the funding drive that will be taking place in June for this vital initiative.
Every year, more than 8.1 million children around the world die from preventable diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria, HIV and measles, and millions more suffer serious illness and permanent disability. With only 4 years left until 2015, and the 4th Millennium Development Goal on reducing child mortality by two thirds fast approaching, we need to be working as an international community to support vaccinations- one of the best methods we have to save children’s lives on a global scale.
In light of the Lancet medical journal’s special series published today estimating that 2.6 million stillbirths occurred worldwide in 2009, we thought it would be a good opportunity to highlight maternal and newborn health by re-visiting a video shown to us by White Ribbon Alliance presenter James Cox during our national conference last weekend. As part of James’ presentation, he showed us the following film reminding us that giving birth remains one of the most dangerous things a woman can do, particularly in the developing world:
As the Lancet points out, every day more than 7,200 babies are stillborn, and unlike maternal mortality and wider child death rates, the number of stillbirths is showing little reduction. Continue reading →
As many of you most likely already know, World TB Day will be happening this Thursday! In run-up to World TB Day, here are some news items highlighting why TB is such an important issue and why we need further advocacy to mobilise resources to fight TB – the leading cause of death among curable infectious diseases.
Increasing rates of drug resistant TB are undermining inroads made against TB
Last week, the scientific journal The Lancet published an article written by Dr Alimuddin Zumla and Dr Stephen D Lawn on ‘Increasing Drug Resistance Threatens Gains of World TB Programmes; Smoking and Diabetes are also Fuelling the Global TB Epidemic; Even Modern Drugs for Rheumatoid Arthritis Trigger TB’. The authors say:
“Increasing rates of drug resistant TB in eastern Europe, Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa now threaten to undermine the gains made by worldwide tuberculosis control programmes.”
Drug resistant TB is on the rise and is a threat to everyone. Drug resistance can Continue reading →
Following on from our post earlier in the week looking at what the multilateral and bilateral aid reviews mean for access to education, we have also investigated what the reviews mean for the UK’s contribution to global tuberculosis (TB) control.
Unfortunately, TB does not figure at all prominently in the aid reviews, but this is not surprising due to the disease not being identified as a priority within the Department for International Development (DFID) business plan for 2011 – 2015. In the summary document which covers the results of the two reviews, DFID commit to:
Support global efforts to halve tuberculosis deaths by 2015. We will fund research and development into more effective treatment and vaccines to combat tuberculosis. Continue reading →
Women TB advocates Joyce Kamwana and Mamta Jacob meet RESULTS volunteers in October 2010
Today, the world celebrates the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day. So much progress has been made on gender equality in the last century, from the expansion of universal suffrage to social and legal reforms promoting equal rights, and from improvements in reproductive health and more girls in education to progress against gender-based violence.
But despite this, gender inequality still features across the world and in multiple walks of life. In many countries across the world – particularly but not exclusively poorer countries – women are often deprived of basic rights such as education and health. Continue reading →
The 2011 UNESCO Global Monitoring Report (GMR) was released on Tuesday. The report, which is released annually, details progress toward achieving the Education for All (EFA) Goals. The good news from this year’s report is that the number of out-of-school children in 2008 reduced to 67 million, from 72 million the year before. However, the reduction is slowing and there may be more children out of school by 2015 than there are today if more is not done.
In addition, each year’s report addresses a focus theme, which in 2011 is education and conflict in fragile states. The report, called “The Hidden Crisis: Armed Conflict in Education”, points out that the provision of universal education is seriously hampered by armed conflict, war and civil unrest. With half of all out-of-school kids living in conflict affected or fragile countries, this issue needs to be addressed and taken seriously. Continue reading →