16 May 2017

On 6 April 2017, the Global Fund announced that it had signed an agreement with Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon to collaborate on programming to prevent cervical cancer. Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon is an independent public-private partnership dedicated to the delivery of services for the prevention and treatment of cervical and breast cancer.

“Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon and its partners will work with the Global Fund to take advantage of opportunities to include initiatives that address cervical cancer,” Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Chief Executive Officer Celina Schocken told Aidspan. “The idea is to work with members of country coordinating mechanisms (CCMs) – such as UNAIDS, the World Health Organization and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) – to provide technical assistance to CCMs so they understand that Global Fund grants can be programmed (or reprogrammed) to address cervical cancer, and to encourage them to do this.”

“More women die every year from cervical cancer than die in childbirth, so the problem is a large one. Cervical cancer programs can be inexpensively integrated into HIV programs,” Schocken said.

No new money is involved in this initiative.

 “Collaborating with Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon makes sense, Marijke Wijnroks, Chief of Staff of the Global Fund, said in a news release, “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.”

HIV-positive women are up to five times more likely than other women to develop cervical cancer. Screening and treatment for cervical pre-cancer is a cost-effective intervention, costing less than $25 per woman.

Schocken said that Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon is working most closely with a group of countries that have identified unused money for 2017 that can be reprogrammed to address cervical cancer. “The main focus is on Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Tanzania, Botswana, Ethiopia and Malawi,” Schocken said, “but other countries can get assistance if they want it.” (To obtain assistance, countries should write to info@pinkribbonredribbon.org, or contact their national UNAIDS office.)

PEPFAR funds are also being used to combat cervical cancer.

For more information on Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, visit their website.

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