Women living with HIV are six times likelier to develop cervical cancer over their lifetimes. The Go Further multi-sectoral partnership aims to save lives through cervical cancer prevention, screening, and treatment in sub-Saharan Africa. The program has shown great resilience even during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Mamadi Yilla, Acting Deputy Coordinator for Multisector Relations at the U.S. Department of State, Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator and Health Diplomacy, completing more than 2 million overall screenings between its founding in 2018 and March 2021. The program also expanded during that time from eight to 12 countries.
The United Nations works with the partnership to better deliver care to women who haven’t been centered, said Shannon Hader, Deputy Executive Director, Programme, United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS. Women with HIV often suffer from stigma and criminalization in addition to their diagnosis, but the partnership has benefited from community leadership. The voices of women, Hader said, tell us what we’re doing works.
More than 1,000 adolescent girls and women are infected by HIV daily, explained Carmen Villar, Vice President of Social Business Innovation in the Policy, Communications and Population Health at Merck & Co. Inc. This was a call to action for Merck, a commitment to improving public health, understanding the interface between HPV and HIV, and empowering women and girls, who are at the center of care for families.
Holly Kuzmich, Executive Director of the George W. Bush Institute, asked the panelists to describe their next steps. Yilla noted that sessions with partners will be central to success, and highlighted a new relationship with Roche Pharmaceuticals. Community-led and women-led organizations lift up not only women. Hader stressed the importance of a multi-sectoral approach to develop capacity. Villar described Merck’s program to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goal to reduce maternal mortality. Improving the quality of care becomes a lifetime of good health for women, which means good health for babies and families. They expect to reach 13 million mothers.
The importance of multi-sectoral life insights that women-led organizations help us deliver can’t be underestimated.
Yesterday a colleague described global health as being about complementarity and cooperation. There’s no better place to realize that in our partnerships than the Go Further collaboration.
When women have access to quality maternal care before, during, and after childbirth, we can definitely prevent some of these deaths.
We’re protecting the investments the American taxpayers have made in PEPFAR, but we’re giving women living with HIV the opportunity to thrive.