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A Tale of Two Realities
The Olympics is a time of international coming-together. Individually, athletes compete to showcase their abilities and bring home medals. And every two years, nations put aside their differences and come together in a display of international unity.
But there’s more to the Olympics than athletics and kumbaya. While the games attempt to elevate countries to the same playing field, there are usually clear winners and losers – countries that sweep the gold, silver, and bronze with their national anthems ringing continuously throughout Olympic Village, versus those that can’t reach the podium.
Global cervical cancer statistics reveal a similar story. Although cervical cancer is preventable, there are clear winners and losers when it comes to countries carrying the burden of this disease. Women in sub-Saharan Africa are more likely to develop cervical cancer and eight times more likely to die from it than women in the United States. Cervical cancer affects approximately 500,000 women every year, and over 80% of the affected women live in low and middle-income countries. The disparity exists for many reasons, most notably the lack of access to HPV vaccines.
In the U.S., HPV vaccine awareness continues to grow. In 2016, about 50% of adolescent girls ages 13-17 had completed all required doses. In low and middle-income countries, however, awareness of the vaccine’s significance is low. The vaccine’s adoption rate in low and middle-income countries has been much slower than in high-income countries. Additionally, many low-income countries struggle to finance a sufficient quantity for national uptake and sustainability. In fact, coverage among adolescents ages 10-20 is 10 times higher in developed regions than in less developed ones.
Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon’s nationwide programs in Botswana, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Zambia have screened 465,000 women for cervical cancer and treated 30,000 women for cervical pre-cancer. Cervical cancer is preventable, and no woman should die due to lack of access to prevention or treatment.
We all must do our part to reduce cancer’s global burden, remembering those who are most vulnerable, and accelerate progress toward a cancer-free future. When we reach a world free of cervical cancer, we can give ourselves a gold medal.
Crystal Cazier serves as Program Manager for the Global Health Initiative and for Evaluation and Research at the George W. Bush Institute. In this role, she helps coordinate the Bush Institute’s involvement in The Partnership to End AIDS and Cervical Cancer, a collaboration of the Bush Institute, PEPFAR, and UNAIDS that works with eight countries in sub-Saharan Africa to prioritize HIV-positive women in national cervical cancer prevention and control programs. She also serves on the research and evaluation team which supports programming across the Bush Institute.
Before joining the Bush Institute, Crystal worked as a Clinical Research Associate at Carle Cancer Center in Urbana, Illinois where she managed budgetary and contractual negotiations for both pharmaceutical and government-sponsored clinical trials.
Crystal received her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and is currently pursuing a Master of Public Health at the University of Texas Health Science Center.Full Bio
Two-Minute Take: World AIDS Day 2019
In honor of World AIDS Day on December 1, Bush Institute's Manager of Global Health Crystal Cazier reflects on the progress we've made in the fight against HIV/AIDS and on what we have left to accomplish.
Time to ACT - Implementing strategies for breast cancer control in Africa
Crystal Cazier speaks to Dr. Anne Rositch of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health about a research study she's leading to implement strategies for breast cancer control in Africa.
Cervical cancer survivor Lydia Musonda shares her story at Concordia Summit
Lydia, a 29-year-old entrepreneur and mother of two from Zambia, is a beneficiary of PEPFAR and Go Further programming. She shared her story with Global Health Program Manager Crystal Cazier and PEPFAR’s Senior Advisor for HIV Prevention and Maternal Health Jenny Albertini before joining Executive Director Holly Kuzmich, Amb. Deborah Birx, and others for a panel discussion on ‘Healthy People, Healthy Economies’ at the Concordia Annual Summit.
How to avoid future threats of rescission: follow the principles of PEPFAR
To maintain support and realize the benefits of foreign aid, those who manage federally-funded international programs should follow principles that guarantee the best return on investment for American taxpayer dollars. PEPFAR is one program that embodies these principles.