In cooperation with GlaxoSmithKline “gsk” a science-led global healthcare companies that researches and develops a broad range of innovative medicines and brands. Arabyana members were selected as ambassadors of Cervical Cancer Campaign. Arabyana NGO was selected because it consists of women founders and because it is an organization that focuses on women’s issues. Unfortunately many women die yearly because of this disease. This campaign aims at educating women about the disease and to let them take the needed vaccination before marriage and necessary scanning after marriage.
More than 70 per cent of cervical cancers caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) can be prevented through vaccination, yet the UAE doesn’t have a mandatory vaccine programme.
According to medical experts, the current vaccine coverage against HPV is low in the country. Rough estimates by doctors in the private sector peg the coverage at 25 per cent. The World Health Organisation (WHO) considers cervical cancer as the second most common cancer in women worldwide with about 500,000 new cases and 250,000 deaths each year.
In the UAE, the rate is 7.4 per 100,000 women.
More than 70 per cent of all cervical cancers are caused by the HPV strains 16 and 18. Two vaccines protect against these two strains.
The Immunisation Guidelines by the Department of Public Health and Safety at the DHA approved Gardasil (by Merck & Co) and Cervarix (by GlaxoSmithKline).
The HPV immunisation requires three doses — administered intramuscularly — of either type of vaccine, starting at age nine.
The push for mandatory immunisation against the HPV, the most common sexually transmitted infection worldwide, saw the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD) announce last month a campaign offering free vaccines to Emirati women aged 18-26 in Abu Dhabi.
In 2012, the Hamdan Medical Award recommended mandatory nation-wide pre-marriage vaccination against HPV for Emirati women. The recommendation was directed at decision makers.