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MSD (www.MSD.co.za), known as Merck & Co., Inc., (NYSE: MRK) in the United States and Canada, congratulates both Cote d’ Ivoire and Liberia on the successful launch of the National Immunisation Programme (NIP) for the Human-Papillomavirus (HPV – the main cause of cervical cancer).[1]

Approximately 530 000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer around the world each year.[2]  In Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), cervical cancer incidence rates are the highest in the world (the prevalence of HPV in women with normal cytology is at an average of 24% in SSA) and the disease is the most common cause of cancer death among women in the region. [3]a,b  HPV16 and 18 are the most common genotypes in cervical cancer in SSA.3  Although HPV16 and 18 are associated with approximately 70% of cervical cancer cases [4], the various HPV genotypes also contribute to penile cancers, anal cancers, vulvar and vaginal cancers as well as genital warts (HPV6 and 11).3 

The launch of HPV programs in both Liberia and Cote d’ Ivoire

Cote d’ Ivoire has a population of 6.7 million women aged 15 years and older who are at risk of developing cervical cancer and Liberia has a population of 1.4 million women in this risk category.[5],6 Current estimates are that, annually, 1 789 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 1 448 die from the disease in Cote d’ Ivoire.[6]  In Liberia, there are 548 new cervical cancer cases annually and 449 cervical cancer deaths.5  Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women aged 15 to 44 years in Cote D’ Ivoire and the first most frequent cancer among women between 15 and 44 years of age in Liberia. 5,6

“We are excited that Cote d’ Ivoire and Liberia have launched their HPV immunisation programmes. MSD is committed to the elimination of preventable HPV related cancers and diseases and a national immunisation programme is a critical step towards that. Well done to both Cote d’ Ivoire and Liberia” said Dr Priya Agrawal – MD MSD South Africa and SSA Cluster.

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/cervical/pdf/cervical_facts.pdf

[2] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877782116301084

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4144870/

[4] http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/human-papillomavirus-(hpv)-and-cervical-cancer

[5] https://hpvcentre.net/statistics/reports/LBR.pdf

[6] https://hpvcentre.net/statistics/reports/CIV.pdf

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of MSD.

Media Contacts: Neren Rau +27 11 655 3000 [email protected]

Notes to Editors

About HPV and related cancers: There are over 190 different types of HPV, and 40 of them affect the anogenital area. For most young individuals infected with HPV, the virus goes away on its own. If the virus does not go away it can develop into genital warts, pre-cancerous lesions, or even HPV related cancers such as cervical, vulvar, vaginal, anal, and penile cancer, depending on the HPV type. For more information, visit http://HPVvaccine.co.za/the-virus.html

About MSD: For more than a century, MSD (www.MSD.co.za), a leading global biopharmaceutical company, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for the world’s most challenging diseases. MSD is a trade name of Merck & Co., Inc., with headquarters in Kenilworth, N.J., U.S.A. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Today, MSD continues to be at the forefront of research to advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that threaten people and communities around the world – including cancer, cardio-metabolic diseases, emerging animal diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and infectious diseases including HIV and Ebola.

For more information, visit www.MSD.co.za and connect with us on Twitter.

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