Ben Neel addresses the audience at the recent 6th Annual Symposium on Global Cancer Research. At the symposium, the Consortium of Universities for Global Health, the Perlmutter Cancer Center, and NYU Langone’s Department of Population Health issued a challenge to all nations to achieve a 70 percent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination rate to prevent cervical cancer for all girls by the year 2030. Cervical cancer is a global scourge, killing over a quarter of a million women each year, or one every two minutes. Ninety percent of these women live in low- and middle-income countries.

Vaccinating girls against HPV has been declared a cost-effective measure by the World Health Organization (WHO). Research published in 2017 estimated that the total cost of vaccinating 160 million girls with two doses apiece and screening and treating 170 million women would be $3.2 billion. The return on this investment would be averting 5.2 million cases of cervical cancer, 3.7 million deaths, and 22 million individual years lost to disability.