A Decade of Making a Difference 

A Decade of Making a Difference 

“In my opinion, HPV vaccination is a life-saver and it’s the best weapon we have to save millions of women who could die from this killer cancer” – Joe Tooma, Chief Executive Officer at ACCF

This May we celebrated a monumental milestone as we reflected on the 10th anniversary of the first ever National HPV Vaccination Program implemented in a developing country. 

In 2010 ACCF partnered with officials from the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan including Her Majesty the Royal Grandmother of Bhutan, the Royal Government of Bhutan and MSD (Merck & Co Inc) to successfully deliver the National HPV Vaccination Program in Bhutan. This was especially exciting to be a part of as Bhutan became the first low/middle-income country to initiate a program against human papillomavirus (HPV).

ACCF is incredibly humbled and proud to have been involved in the first nationwide public-private partnership supporting HPV vaccination in the developing world. Over the last decade we have seen how the opportunity to tackle health inequity through a long-term partnership has improved conversation and action around cervical cancer prevention.

Pictured: Mike and Lenore Willie with the Royal Grandmother, Pem-Pem and Kesang

The partnership developed after Her Majesty Gyalyum Kesang Choeden Wangchuck raised the issue around the incidence rates of cervical cancer in Bhutan – where cervical cancer impacts more women than any other type of cancer. Co-inventor of the HPV vaccine, Professor Ian Frazer, has been firm in his support for these partnerships to bring real change in the world, especially during the time of COVID-19. 

“COVID-19 has reminded us that infection control will always be high on the global health agenda. Ongoing partnerships between government, global health agencies, and the pharmaceutical industry are essential to ensure that we are able to meet new challenges as they arise for the benefit of humankind,” said Frazer.

Today we are happy to report that over the past 10 years since we started in Bhutan, nearly 110,000 school-aged girls have been vaccinated, further reducing their risk of dying from cervical cancer by up to 80%. The results from this vaccination program have since been published and have served as a model for other developing countries around the globe.

Pictured: Bhutanese schoolgirls after receiving their vaccinations

Of course, none of this could have been done without your wonderful support. If you’d like to help us continue protecting girls across the globe from the burden of cervical cancer, donate here.