Women's cancers (CCI & BCI2.5)

What is the Cervical Cancer Initiative?

Every year 530’000 women worldwide are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and around 275,000 die from the disease, with 88% of deaths occurring in developing countries (Globocan, 2012).

The good news is that cervical cancer is unique in that the knowledge and science to successfully prevent, early detect and treat it are available. These tools could make cervical cancer a disease of the past.

Based on this knowledge, UICC is spearheading the Cervical Cancer Initiative (CCI) to significantly reduce the incidence and mortality of women dying from the disease through targeted and resourced interventions, supported by multiple partners.

CCI is being rolled out in partnership with PAHO (Pan American Health Organisation) and IPPF/WHR (International Planned Parenthood Federation, Western Hemisphere Region). Its areas of focus stem from the observation that the disease is both preventable and treatable, but that many women are not able to access necessary health services due to a lack of knowledge and resources to effectively integrate cervical cancer screening, prevention and treatment into health systems.

Key areas of focus include:

  • Advocating for cervical cancer to become a priority at the highest level
  • Increasing access to cervical cancer prevention, screening and treatment services
  • Developing crucial information on the cost of scaling up cervical cancer control activities

Advocacy and Policy

CCI’s aim is to mobilise change at the highest level as a catalyst for global impact. CCI works closely with WHO and other key international bodies to strengthen the advocacy arguments for HPV vaccination to become a standard component of immunisation programmes and for countries to use evidence-based technologies for effective screening. The programme’s advocacy messages are directly aligned with the UN Political Declaration on Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs).

Partnering with Civil Society

The initiative supports civil society organisations that already work in women- and youth-related issues to integrate cervical cancer into their agendas for education, service provision and advocacy. The initiative uses a tri-partite operational model which brings together UICC members (cervical cancer experts), governments (regulatory authorities and a key requirement for sustainability) and civil society organisations (providers of education, health services and advocacy). Together, they design a plan that responds to specific national situations and needs. The Initiative is being rolled out in partnership with PAHO, IPPF/ WHR, Ministries of Health, civil society organisations and NGOs, beginning in the Latin-America and Caribbean region, coordinate efforts among relevant actors working in this area and ensure cervical cancer prevention programmes are institutionalised and sustained. UICC provides an impetus and seed money for key actors in-country to start tackling cervical cancer through a comprehensive approach. Where previous efforts have failed for lack of integration, the sustainable model presented by UICC ensures long-term success.

HPV vaccine introduction

Due to the recently opened window of opportunity, under which the GAVI Alliance will support the expansion and introduction of HPV vaccines in low-income countries, CCI will support a comprehensive approach to cervical cancer control and use its core assets to accompany HPV vaccine introduction efforts.Convening members and partners from the cancer community, professional bodies and other sectors, to achieve a robust multi-stakeholder approach to cervical cancer control and support government lead HPV vaccine introduction. Uniting for effective communication, CCI can engage global support for the HPV vaccine producing a global communication and awareness raising campaign with tools and technical advice that support country level implementation. Building on existing expertise and materials, core messages and a global template and user-friendly toolkit can support national campaigns for the general public during HPV vaccine roll-out. An expert advisory group consisting of UICC members, partners and key cervical cancer actors will be convened for this effect.

Cost of interventions

The information on the financial costs of scaling up cervical cancer interventions is not readily available at a national level. Countries need this data in order to expand current programmes on cervical cancer. Without a budget, no action can be started. UICC is working with its key members and partners to support the availability of this information for decision makers in government, influential advocates, programme managers and donors.

Training and Education

Training and education activities are strategically linked to all CCI’s in-country activities. UICC will provide support through fellowships and workshops, seed grants, expert technical assistance, with important emphasis in south-to-south exchange and other forms of peer to peer collaboration.

CCI Funding Priorities

The immediate funding priorities are guided by our strategic plan and focus on advocating for policy change. The curent focus is to:

  • Integrate cervical cancer prevention into sexual and reproductive health services provided by civil society organizations. Focusing on 10 selected Latin American countries, starting in 2012 in 3 Central American countries including El Salvador (supported by Fondation Philanthropia), Guatemala and Honduras.
  • Engage cancer organizations, health professionals and key stakeholders to raise one voice in support of government lead HPV vaccine introduction though a set of 10 roundtables and follow up forums.
  • Design and implement a communication and awareness raising campaign, prepare user-friendly tools for in-country use and facilitate technical assistance for country level implementation for the general public around the HPV vaccine and cervical cancer prevention.
  • Provide south to south support, seed-grants, fellowships and workshops to core HPV vaccines delivery teams to develop capacities, facilitate expertiseand ensure proper skills are in place before the HPV vaccine is rolled-out
  • Estimate the financial costs of scaling up cervical cancer interventions in selected countries

Making it possible

With thanks to the following organisations who support the Cervical Cancer Initiative:

Canadian Cancer Society