GENEVA, May 9 (Xinhua) -- A record low price for human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines will help ensure millions of girls in developing countries to be protected against cervical cancer, the GAVI Alliance announced Thursday.
The poorest countries will now have access to a sustainable supply of HPV vaccines for as low as 4.50 U.S. dollars per dose. The same vaccines can cost more than 100 U.S. dollars in developed countries and the previous lowest public sector price was 13 U.S. dollars per dose, said GAVI.
GAVI has been trying to address market failures for vaccines by aggregating volume, increasing certainty of demand, stimulating competition where possible and ensuring that a sufficient quantity of appropriate, quality vaccines is available through a diverse manufacturer base at affordable and sustainable prices.
GAVI, a public-private global health partnership committed to saving children's lives and protecting people's health by increasing access to immunization in poor countries, will begin support for HPV vaccines in Kenya this month followed by Ghana, the Laos, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Sierra Leone and Tanzania.
It will also support HPV vaccines for nationwide use in Rwanda next year. The immunization of girls aged nine to 13 also provides an opportunity to reach adolescents with education programs on nutrition, sexual health and HIV prevention, according to GAVI.
GAVI CEO Seth Berkley said the organization hopes to reach more than 30 million girls in over 40 countries by 2020.
GAVI statistics showed that of the 275,000 women who die of cervical cancer annually, 85 percent live in the world's poorest countries. Cervical cancer deaths are expected to increase to 430,000 each year by 2030, virtually all in developing countries.
Immunizing girls before sexual initiation and before exposure to HPV infection is a key strategy to preventing cervical cancer. Vaccination against HPV is only effective before the person is infected with the virus.