Catalyzing Civil Society Action for HPV Vaccine Access

photo credit: Arturo Avila

Catalyzing Civil Society Action for HPV Vaccine Access

The Ask: Six international NGOs – the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the International Union Against Cancer, PATH and the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition – asked GHS to organize a high-level summit focused on catalyzing civil society to ensure global access to HPV vaccines, particularly in developing countries. New vaccines typically take 15 years or more to reach developing countries after they are approved in developed countries. This summit provided an unprecedented opportunity to close this gap.

The Approach: GHS acted as the secretariat and coordinating body for the summit, “Stop Cervical Cancer: Accelerating Global Access to HPV Vaccines.”  Working closely with the six NGOs, GHS developed an agenda for the summit that highlighted key areas where effective advocacy could accelerate the introduction of HPV vaccines in developing countries. More than 60 key leaders traveled to London to participate in the meeting. Participants represented global and national NGOs, multilateral agencies, bilateral and foundation donors, ministries of health, and the private sector, as well as parliamentarians and other policymakers. GHS planned several auxiliary events to maximize the event’s impact, including a welcome dinner and a reception sponsored by the co-convening organizations. The reception provided a chance to engage a broader constituency, including locally based organizations working on reproductive health and health access issues in developing countries. GHS also organized a global press conference on the first day of the meeting and conducted a targeted global media campaign. These gave summit organizers a chance to brief top-tier international media on the need to accelerate access to HPV vaccines.

The Outcome: The summit led key civil society stakeholders and global policymakers to begin developing an advocacy agenda to ensure that HPV vaccines would rapidly become available in developing countries. GHS media outreach also attracted significant global coverage of the summit and HPV vaccines in US, European and African press. The momentum generated by the meeting catalyzed similar advocacy activities around the world, including several civil society-initiated meetings in Latin America and Africa. GHS was asked to expand its role and organize “The Global Call to Stop Cervical Cancer” campaign, which later led to the launch of Cervical Cancer Action (http://www.cervicalcanceraction.org), a new independent organization focused on cervical cancer advocacy.