HPV Vaccination Campaign Launched in Myanmar

Cervical cancer vaccination program will be conducted for the first time in Myanmar
young girl sitting in a market

The Myanmar Ministry of Health and Sports announced plans to conduct the first nationwide vaccination campaign in September 2020 to prevent cervical cancer and human papillomavirus (HPV).

The HPV vaccination campaign will target over 450,000 girls between 9 and 10 years old in the country.

Daw Htar Htar Lin, director and program manager of the Department of Public Health’s Extended Programme on Immunisation, said in a media statement on June 8, 2020, the vaccination campaign will be supported by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization, and UNICEF.

“A cervical-cancer vaccination program will be conducted for the first time in Myanmar,” she said.

The Myanmar ministry submitted the proposal for the vaccination drive to Gavi in 2018. 

The government will pay 10 percent of the vaccine cost, while Gavi will pay the rest. The Health Ministry estimated the cost of the HPV vaccine at US$9 (K13,000) for 2-doses.

“We expect that it will prevent 90 percent of cervical cancer cases in Myanmar women,” Daw Htar Htar Lin said.

According to a 2018 report by the HPV Information Centre of Myanmar, 6,472 cervical cancer cases are diagnosed annually in Myanmar, where it is the most common female cancer in women between 15 to 44 years of age.

Officially known as the Republic of the Union of Myanmar in Southeast Asia, Myanmar is bordered by Bangladesh and India to its northwest, China to its northeast, Laos, and Thailand to its east and southeast.

As of 2017, Myanmar’s population is about 54 million residents.

Cervical cancer is the 2nd-most common form of cancer in women living in less-developed regions. Health experts recommend that girls receive an HPV vaccine twice in their lives.

Gavi statistics show that worldwide, 1 woman dies of cervical cancer every 2-minutes, or 266,000 a year.

However, there has been a reported shortage of HPV vaccines for the developing world.

To resolve this issue, on June 3, 2020, vaccine manufacturers MSD, GSK, Innovax, Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd., and Walvax pledged to ramp up HPV vaccine supply availability for Gavi-supported countries.

Currently, only two manufacturers, MSD and GSK, produce WHO-prequalified HPV vaccines.

This commitment is part of an ongoing UNICEF-led tender that aims to enable Gavi to dramatically increase its reach from 50 million girls, as initially planned, to 84 million girls during the next five-year period, leading to the prevention of an estimated 1.4 million future deaths from cervical cancer.

Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, said in a press statement: “HPV is one of the most impactful vaccines in the Gavi portfolio, and country demand is currently far in excess of supply.” 

“Today’s commitment has the potential to save more lives, and to take significant steps towards our common goal of a world free of cervical cancer.”

Cervical prevention news published by Vax-Before-Cancer.