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#womendeliver2023: Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance Side Meeting on Cervical Cancer.

The Women Deliver conference, held every three years, unites decision-makers across sectors to address girls and women issues. Advocating for increased investment, political will, and better health outcomes, the conference fosters collaboration, raises awareness, and trains advocates. This year, the conference is taking place in Kigali, Rwanda, with 6000 people attending. For the first time in an African country, thereby fulfilling its inclusive and equal opportunities mandate.

This made our session even more relevant. Cervical cancer is a disease of inequities, social and health injustice. Over 300,000 women (70% from LMICs), die annually from cervical cancer- a preventable disease. If we do not act now, with the available resources we have, the numbers will increase to 460,000 by the year 2040. Again, LMICs will carry burden of disease.

I was honored to moderate the side event yesterday on behalf of the UICC. Aligning with the conference theme “Spaces, Solidarity, and Solutions,” the International Union for Cancer Control (UICC), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and GAVI event titled “A Future Without Cervical Cancer: Engaging Communities for HPV Vaccination.”

We aimed to leverage the momentum of cervical cancer elimination efforts and recent paradigm shifts, mainly: -Increased vaccine availability -World Health Organization’s endorsement of a single-dose HPV vaccine recommendation.

The panelists were Uwinkindi Francois from the Rwanda Biomedical Centre, Céline THIOMBIANO from Médecins du Monde France, Jessica Posner Odede, CEO of Girl Effect, Lucy Kiarie, Regional Director of Immunization at Jhpiego, Salome (Sally) Agallo, Lived Experience Advocate, and Rukaya Mumuni, a registered nurse from Ghana.

Our vastly experienced speakers shared their experiences in reaching the 90% target for cervical cancer elimination, discussed opportunities for collaboration between gender and health communities in advocating for elimination, highlighted innovative interventions for engaging girls in promoting HPV vaccination, explored the paradigm shift brought by the single-dose vaccine, and emphasized the importance of amplifying women’s voices and lived experiences.

Partners, industry players and UICC members such as GIACH, MSD and Pand G were present.

We closed out with an interactive session and participants signed the global declaration to end cervical cancer, (which I encourage everyone to sign ➡️

Detailed action points and next steps will be shared in due course.

Martina Möllers, Global Public Health, Pedagogy, M.B.A. Temitope Iluyemi Samira OUEDRAOGO Lucy Kiarie Hansatu Adegbite