Republic of Uganda and MSD Launch Cervical Cancer Vaccination Program

•    Cervical cancer is the most common cancer among women in Uganda

•    MSD will donate 460,000 doses of GARDASIL® [Human Papillomavirus Quadrivalent (Types 6, 11, 16 and 18) Vaccine, Recombinant] over two years

The Republic of Uganda through the Ministry of Health (MoH), supported by MSD (http://www.msd.com) known as Merck in the United States and Canada, today announced the launch of a national vaccination program with GARDASIL® [Human Papillomavirus Quadrivalent (Types 6, 11, 16 and 18) Vaccine, Recombinant] for eligible girls 9 to 13 years of age in 12 districts throughout the country. Cervical cancer is the most frequent cancer diagnosed among women in Uganda, and incidence rates of the disease in the country are about three times the global average. An estimated 3,500 women in Uganda are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year.

“Cervical cancer is a serious health concern in Uganda as it represents the most common cancer diagnosed in women of all ages,” said Dr. Gerald Mutungi, Program Manager for Non-Communicable Diseases Prevention and Control Program-Ministry of Health. “It is our hope that this important collaboration with MSD, GAVI, PATH, and other partners will help to reduce the burden of cervical cancer in Uganda.”

Through an agreement with MSD, the vaccination program will be implemented with 460,000 doses of GARDASIL donated to 12 districts in Uganda over a two year period, enough to vaccinate approximately 140,000 eligible girls in 12 districts. The program represents the first phase of Uganda’s national roll out plan for human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination.

“The launch of this program in Uganda is another important step in helping to support our goal of reducing the incidence of cervical cancer around the world, and particularly in sub-Saharan Africa where the burden of cervical cancer is significant,” said Colleen McGuffin, vice president, Merck Vaccines. “We are pleased to donate GARDASIL to support the Ugandan Ministry of Health’s cervical cancer prevention efforts.”

“At MSD we are committed to work with health officials and other stakeholders in sub-Saharan Africa to advance human health and to protect future generations of Africans from potentially devastating diseases,” says Henrik Secher, managing director, MSD Africa. “Being part of the Cervical Cancer Vaccination program in Uganda is a great example of how – in close cooperation with local governments – we can help improve access to much needed vaccines.”

Source: African Press Organisation – Press Release – 4 September 2012