47th PCB - Intervention by Iwatutu Joyce Adewole - Agenda item 15: Thematic Segment: Cervical cancer and HIV- addressing linkages and common inequalities to save women’s lives

Delivered by Iwatutu Joyce Adewole, Incoming Africa Delegate, African Girl Child Development and Support Initiative

I speak on my own behalf as a Nigerian young woman and as an incoming PCB NGO Africa Delegate.‘’

I want to speak of a silent killer on my continent. And of global solidarity and shared responsibility. I want to speak of cervical cancer.

Chair, 85% of women with cervical cancer and HIV live in sub-Saharan Africa. 85%! That’s almost half a million new cases in the region every 12 months. Not a total of women living with and dying of cervical cancer, but of new cases.

The HPV vaccine in my region costs about a hundred dollars. Let’s remember the financial gap women face and the many who live below one dollar a day. In the global north, over 90% of girls who need the HPV vaccine are receiving it. In my region over 90% of girls who need it are not receiving it. Let’s talk about inequality.

Madam Executive Director, we need not only one People’s vaccine for COVID, but another for universal access of all girls to HPV. Let’s talk about global solidarity.

Women living with HIV grapple with multiple vulnerabilities, including cervical cancer. Treatment is unaffordable for them, transport is unaffordable, machines in health facilities don’t work.

Yet, despite all these inequities, we have eliminated other conditions such as polio. We want the same efforts to be put into HPV. We need to strive to eliminate HPV and cervical cancer. I ask that the Joint Programme shares the responsibility to create new ways of meeting our health needs even if this means working with new partners and thinking more broadly in the HIV response to achieve this.

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