06 April 2017
WINDHOEK, Namibia – Today leaders of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon signed an agreement to collaborate on programming to prevent cervical cancer. HIV positive women are up to five times more likely to develop cervical cancer, so routine screening and treatment is essential for this population. Screening and treatment for cervical pre-cancer is a cost-effective intervention, costing less than $25 per woman. Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon will work with countries to integrate cervical cancer programming into their HIV/AIDS grants from the Global Fund, building on efforts by national governments and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
“As we continue to accelerate the end of AIDS, TB and malaria, it is essential that we tackle diseases that are killing the people whose lives we could otherwise save,” said Marijke Wijnroks, Chief of Staff of the Global Fund. “Collaborating with Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon makes sense because they are already succeeding at saving the lives of women and girls from cancer in low-resource settings. Together we can leverage our expertise and resources to tackle the increased risk and negative impact of cervical cancer for women living with HIV/AIDS.”
The agreement was signed in Namibia as former President George W. Bush and Mrs. Bush visited Windhoek Central Hospital where Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, which is affiliated with the George W. Bush Institute, will begin cervical cancer “screen-and-treat” services in the next few months. Screen-and-treat enables medical staff to screen women for pre-cancerous lesions and treat them during the same visit. Cervical cancer is one of the most common women’s cancers in Namibia – and throughout sub-Saharan Africa – but also one of the most preventable. Cervical cancer is also five times more common among women living with HIV than women who are HIV-negative.
“Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon’s success is rooted in the commitment of governments and the strength of its partnerships,” commented Celina Schocken, Chief Executive Officer of Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon. “It is through the support of governments in the countries where we work that we are able to have an impact. We are pleased that the Global Fund is reprogramming funding for cervical cancer in Namibia and other countries. This funding will help the countries procure the appropriate resources – in equipment, training and human capital – that is needed to prevent and treat cervical cancer, and to ensure that women lead healthy, productive lives.”
“We are proud to work with Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon to leverage the existing PEPFAR platform to provide testing and treatment for HIV and cervical cancer—especially for HIV-positive women,” said Ambassador Deborah L. Birx, M.D., U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy. “We must ensure that women who survive HIV through access to lifesaving antiretroviral treatment do not succumb to cervical cancer.”
"The integration of HIV and cervical and breast cancer services is having an enormous impact on women’s lives,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “As a founding partner of Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, UNAIDS warmly welcomes the creation of this new funding channel. We will continue to build political commitment around the integration of health services and work with governments and communities to improve women’s health as part of efforts to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030."