Over 275,000 (not 500,000) women die annually from cervical cancer worldwide. In the Americas, the Caribbean sub-region has the fourth highest cervical cancer incidence in the world. Achieving high coverage of secondary preventive strategies, such as cytology, to detect precancerous lesions in women has proved challenging in Latin America and Caribbean (LAC). A safe and efficacious vaccine to prevent the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, a leading cause of cervical cancer in women, is now licensed for use in young girls.
With the availability of primary and secondary preventive strategies to control cervical cancer, countries in the Americas are looking to evaluate how best to combine these strategies to attain optimal impact. To that end, PAHO’s ProVac Initiative has been developing a cost-effectiveness model to evaluate the relative costs and benefits of introducing HPV vaccination and optimizing screening strategies. This model will allow country study teams to evaluate the incremental cost-effectiveness of introducing the HPV vaccine among adolescent girls in combination with adopting new screening technology or addressing inefficiencies of current screening practices among adult women.
PAHO’s ProVac Initiative has trained over 200 immunization professionals in the Region on basic health economic concepts, evidence-based decision making, and the use of economic models to inform national immunization policy. The new cost-effectiveness model under development will bring more actors to the immunization policy discussion, including cervical cancer programme managers, reproductive health professionals, among others. In order to further share the model and provide a basic foundation for the use of health economics in the context of evidence-based decision making, PAHO’s ProVac Initiative will hold a three-day workshop in Bogota, Colombia at the beginning of November with the expected participation of the majority of the countries in the Region.
Published in Global Immunization Newsletter, March 2012.