MSD joins 24th PNIC Conference to advocate for the vital role of vaccines in global public health |

MSD joins 24th PNIC Conference to advocate for the vital role of vaccines in global public health

/ 12:07 PM November 14, 2023

In a concerted effort to underscore the vital importance of vaccines for individuals of all ages and mobilize champions for immunization, a dynamic back-to-back event, namely the annual Asian Vaccine Conference (9th ASVAC) and the Philippine National Immunization Conference (24th PNIC) takes place in Cebu City gather local and international healthcare professionals, policymakers, healthcare providers, economists, and diverse medical organizations. 

Vaccines stand as indispensable tools in the realm of public health, effectively preventing a wide range of infectious diseases. These conferences aim to disseminate crucial knowledge that can significantly reduce the incidence and impact of vaccine-preventable illnesses. With a strong focus on advancing participants’ comprehension of both established and innovative vaccines, the events will delve into essential facets such as vaccine efficacy, safety, effectiveness, and their implications in the Asian context. Additionally, the need to stay informed about the latest developments in the world of vaccines and the ongoing battle against vaccine misinformation and hesitancy will occupy a prominent place in the discussions.

The overarching theme for ASVAC 2023 is “Closing in, Renewing the Vaxx-P.A.C.T.,” inspired by the rapid vaccine development in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the 9th ASVAC, the 24th PNIC, scheduled for November 11, offers a diverse range of topics designed to engage and empower advocates of immunization.

Vaccine-preventable diseases represent a critical battleground in the realm of public health, with vaccination serving as a powerful shield against a host of infectious illnesses. Cervical cancer, a disease primarily caused by certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), stands as a compelling example of such a condition. 

In this event, healthcare company MSD in the Philippines leads the discussions on HPV vaccination, demonstrating their commitment to cervical cancer prevention.

Worldwide, cervical cancer ranks as the fourth most prevalent form of cancer among women. According to data from the World Health Organization, cervical cancer claimed the lives of 342,000 individuals in 2020, with a staggering 90% of these fatalities occurring in low- and middle-income countries, a classification our nation unfortunately falls under. Within the Philippines, cervical cancer stands as the second most common cancer affecting Filipinas. Each year, nearly 8,000 women receive a diagnosis of this disease, leading to the tragic loss of 11 mothers, sisters, daughters, and friends to cervical cancer every day.

A strong commitment to cervical cancer elimination

MSD is also working with national and local stakeholders from both the public and private sectors to achieve the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global strategy towards eliminating cervical cancer as a public health problem. This strategy recommends a comprehensive approach to cervical cancer prevention and control. The recommended actions include interventions across the life course. WHO has set up 90-70-90 targets to be reached by 2030 and to be maintained: 90% of girls fully vaccinated with the HPV vaccine by age 15; 70% of women are screened with a high-performance test by 35, and again by 45 years of age; and 90% of women identified with cervical disease receive treatment.

One of the notable sessions during the MSD-sponsored symposium shines a spotlight on HPV and how it’s linked to cervical cancer. Dr. Mitzi Marie Chua, an adult infectious disease specialist, delves into the burden of cervical cancer worldwide, discussing the staggering statistics and the significant impact on public health. Participants can gain a better understanding of how HPV is linked to the development of cervical cancer, including the transmission and risk factors associated with this viral infection. Moreover, the session provides steps and strategies that can be employed to prevent cervical cancer, highlighting the importance of HPV vaccination, early screening, and informed healthcare decisions. This segment sheds light on a crucial aspect of women’s health and the global effort to combat this preventable disease.

The discussion on HPV vaccines also encompasses two pivotal aspects: their safety and efficacy. It’s imperative to emphasize that extensive research and rigorous testing support the safety of HPV vaccines, with a strong track record of minimizing risks and adverse effects. Dr. Jonathan Lim, a pediatric infectious disease specialist, discusses the effectiveness of these vaccines in preventing HPV infections, which are directly linked to cervical cancer and other related malignancies, and cannot be overstated. Vaccinating the young generation is a key strategy in the fight against HPV-related cancers, as it not only offers protection to individuals but also contributes to broader herd immunity. Additionally, the session underscores the role of prevention through vaccination, shedding light on the potential to eradicate HPV-related cancers through widespread immunization. Attendees can listen to a comprehensive discussion on managing any potential side effects of the vaccine, promoting a balanced approach that prioritizes the health and well-being of recipients. 

MSD PNIC Conference

L-R: Dr. Mitzi Maria Chua, Dr. Jonathan Lim, and Ms. Elizabeth Tan at the 24th Philippine National Immunization Conference held at Radisson Blu in Cebu City

Ms. Elizabeth Tan, a pharmacist and assistant professor at the University of San Carlos, focuses on the pharmacists’ and pharmacies’ vital role in ensuring access to HPV vaccines, serving as key contributors to vaccine distribution and administration. As trusted healthcare professionals with a strong presence in communities, pharmacists are well-positioned to be advocates for vaccines. They provide a convenient and accessible point of care for individuals seeking vaccinations, fostering an environment of ease and comfort in obtaining these vital preventive measures. Pharmacists are equipped to educate patients about the importance of HPV vaccination, address their concerns, and promote awareness about the benefits of immunization. The pharmacist’s role as vaccine advocates extends beyond their role as providers; they are instrumental in advancing public health initiatives and enhancing the reach of vital vaccines like HPV, ultimately contributing to a healthier and more protected population.

The 9th ASVAC and 24th PNIC events are not only an opportunity to enhance our understanding of vaccines and their role in public health but also to address critical global health challenges, including cervical cancer. These conferences are a testament to the dedication of healthcare professionals and organizations working collectively to improve health outcomes and protect lives. It’s a call to action, an opportunity for knowledge exchange, and a step forward in the global effort to make vaccines a cornerstone of public health.


TAGS: BrandRoom, MSD Philippines, Vaccine

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.