11 Jun 2014

CIFF invests $25m to protect adolescent girls from life-threatening virus

The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) is investing $25 million in HPV vaccination, which offers the best protection against cervical cancer for women living in developing countries.

The money is being invested in existing programmes run by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI Alliance).

“Cervical cancer is a devastating disease that kills women at exactly the time when their families need them most,” says GAVI Alliance CEO Dr Berkley. “I am pleased that CIFF is showing incredible support for our goal of reaching 40 million girls with this vital vaccine by 2020.”

CIFF’s contribution will be matched dollar for dollar by the UK government’s Department for International Development through its UK Aid Match scheme

“Our investment in the GAVI Alliance will have a major impact on the lives of women and families in developing countries,” said CIFF Chief Executive Michael Anderson. “HPV vaccine brings a double benefit for adolescent girls. Not only does it protect them from a terrible disease but it gives them the opportunity to access health services and engage with healthcare professionals, in many cases for the first time in a number of years.”

About the HPV Vaccine

The genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the world. According to the US Center for Disease Control, “most sexually-active men and women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lives.”

This is an especially serious problem in developing countries, where very few people have access to cervical cancer screening and treatment: 85% of all cervical cancer deaths are of women in low-income countries. Each year in Africa, 93,000 women contract cervical cancer, and 57,000 die from the disease.

The HPV vaccine offers the best protection against cervical cancer. Unlike most other vaccines, which are administered to children under the age of five, HPV vaccines are given to girls aged between nine and 13. This is to ensure they are protected against HPV before they become sexually active.

HPV vaccination programmes also offer a platform for adolescent girls to engage with health care professionals and access additional health services at a crucial stage in their lives. Many women in developing countries do not have any contact with health workers from birth until when they become mothers themselves.

About the announcement

CIFF Chief Executive Michael Anderson, announced this funding at the UK launch of the End Cervical Cancer Now campaign, held at the Houses of Parliament on 4th June 2014. The launch was attended by the First Lady of Ghana, H.E. Lordina Dramani Mahama, the First Lady of Mozambique, H. E. Dr Maria da Luz Dai Guebuza, Baroness Northover and GAVI Alliance CEO Dr Seth Berkley.