Media Center

Media Contacts: Neren Rau

  • Title: Director, Policy & Communications
  • Office Phone: +27 11 655 3000
  • Email:

Ethiopia Successfully Launch National Immunisation Programme for HPV

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA, 15 November 2018 – MSD, known as Merck & Co., Inc., (NYSE: MRK) in the United States and Canada, congratulates Ethiopia on the successful launch of the National Immunisation Programme (NIP) for the Human-Papillomavirus (HPV - the main cause of cervical cancer).1

Approximately 530 000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer around the world each year2. In Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), cervical cancer incidence rates are the highest in the world (the prevalence of HPV in women with normal cytology is at an average of 24% in SSA) and the disease is the most common cause of cancer death among women in the region.3a,b HPV16 and 18 are the most common genotypes in cervical cancer in SSA.4 Although HPV16 and 18 are associated with approximately 70% of cervical cancer cases5, the various HPV genotypes also contribute to penile cancers, anal cancers, vulvar and vaginal cancers as well as genital warts (HPV6 and 11).6

This is a historic moment for the government and people of Ethiopia.

Currently Ethiopia has a population of 20.9 million women aged 15 and older who are at risk of developing cervical cancer. Each year an estimated 7619 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer; 6081 die from the disease. Crude incidence rates of cervical cancer in Ethiopian women per 100 000 population per year are estimated to be 23.7

These findings underscore the need to scale up health education about cervical cancer prevention amongst women as well as among primary healthcare, which is why MSD remain committed to working with the government of Ethiopia and other partners on the continent to ensure that we work towards the eventual eradication of cervical cancer on the continent.

Notes to Editors

About HPV and related cancers

There are over 190 different types of HPV, and 40 of them affect the anogenital area. For most young individuals infected with HPV, the virus goes away on its own. If the virus does not go away it can develop into genital warts, pre-cancerous lesions, or even HPV related cancers such as cervical, vulvar, vaginal, anal, and penile cancer, depending on the HPV type.

For more information, visit

About MSD

For more than a century, MSD, a leading global biopharmaceutical company, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for the world’s most challenging diseases. MSD is a trade name of Merck & Co., Inc., with headquarters in Kenilworth, N.J., U.S.A. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Today, MSD continues to be at the forefront of research to advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that threaten people and communities around the world - including cancer, cardio-metabolic diseases, emerging animal diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and infectious diseases including HIV and Ebola.

For more information, visit and connect with us on Twitter.