I would like to pay tribute to the GAVI Alliance, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, that funds vaccines for children in the world's 70 poorest countries. It is fantastic that GAVI has recently negotiated to dramatically slash the cost of the vaccine used to prevent cervical cancer.
Globally, 270,000 women die of cervical cancer every year. The vast majority, over 85 per cent of those, are in the developing world. HPV is an extremely common infection. One in two women will get it in our lifetime. In the developing world, it is more likely to persist and more likely to lead to the development of cervical cancer. In countries like Australia, it costs $100 a dose to vaccinate against HPV.
GAVI Alliance has changed the economics of access to this vaccine by driving a hard bargain with the makers of the vaccines. Because GAVI are buying for 60 per cent of the world's birth cohort and buying over multiple-year periods, they have been able to negotiate a bulk price for the vaccine. The new price per vaccine is $4.50. This means that millions more women can be vaccinated out of the pool of aid funding in developing countries.
In many of these countries, women with cervical cancer die because, by the time it is diagnosed, it is too late for preventative treatment or the drastic therapy which cannot be obtained easily in the developing world. That is why, for women in developing countries, prevention through vaccination is a life-saving option. Well done, GAVI.