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Merck's Rwandan cervical cancer programme

Merck has announced the launch of Africa's first comprehensive cervical cancer protection programme in Rwanda, including HPV testing and HPV vaccination using Gardasil

Merck (known as MSD outside of the US and Canada) has announced the launch of Africa's first comprehensive cervical cancer protection programme in Rwanda, including human papillomavirus (HPV) testing and HPV vaccination using Gardasil.

Girls between 12 and 15 years old will undergo vaccination, whereas there will be diagnostic screening for women between the ages of 35 and 45.

The programme is launched in collaboration with the Rwandan government and Qiagen, a Netherlands-based provider of sample and assay technologies.

Merck will provide more than two million free doses of Gardasil to the Rwandan government, whereas Qiagen will provide 250,000 HPV screening tests, as well as additional equipment and training.

Following this initial course of vaccination and diagnosis, the government of Rwanda will continue routine vaccination of 12-year-old girls, with Merck providing Gardasil at a discounted access price. Qiagen will provide its HPV tests under a tiered-market pricing structure.

Commenting on the programme, Dr Richard Sezibera, Rwanda's Minister of Health, said: "It is our goal to create a comprehensive, coordinated program that includes HPV vaccination, cancer screening with HPV DNA testing, and treatment in order to address the nation's unmet needs for cervical cancer-related health services. This vaccination and screening programme brings us one step closer to reaching our goal of protecting the girls and women in our country. We are pleased to have the support of Merck and Qiagen on this important government initiative."

26th April 2011

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