Implementation of human papillomavirus immunization in the developing world.Vaccine 2012; 30 Suppl 5:F192-200V
Cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women in less developed regions of the world and the leading cause of cancer deaths in GAVI-eligible countries, where 54% of worldwide cervical cancer deaths occur. If prevention is not implemented in these countries, population growth alone will lead to a 63% increase in deaths by 2025. Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines are routinely used in the National Immunization Programs in most industrial countries, and the decision by the GAVI Alliance to accept applications from eligible developing countries for HPV vaccine support is the single most important opportunity for children in these countries to be protected against HPV-related diseases. As it has done for other vaccines, such as Haemophilus influenzae type b, rotavirus and pneumococcal conjugate vaccines, GAVI should strongly consider developing and funding a group dedicated to working on all aspects of HPV vaccine introduction in the developing world. Immunization in middle-income developing countries not eligible for GAVI support will depend on "tiered" pricing policies or regional procurement schemes to make vaccine available at prices significantly lower than those in industrial countries. Immunization coverage of infants has reached high levels in many of the poorest developing countries where complementary strategies for HPV control, such as adult screening and treatment, are poorly developed. Immunizing young adolescents will require expansion of immunization infrastructure to reach cohorts that currently are largely unreached, but the success of school-based strategies in industrial countries and developing country demonstration projects provides hope that relatively high coverage may be achieved in many countries. Communication and advocacy strategies for HPV control need to carefully consider local cultural attitudes toward HPV-related issues. Current strategies supported by health economic analyses call for female only immunization, but concerns have been expressed as to whether this is the optimal strategy for the developing world. This article forms part of a special supplement entitled "Comprehensive Control of HPV Infections and Related Diseases" Vaccine Volume 30, Supplement 5, 2012.