Press release 18 January 2016

Partnership to improve prevention of women’s cancers and quality of cancer registries in LAC reaches 1 year milestone



  • The Women’s Cancer Initiative in the Americas works to improve the quality and effectiveness of national breast and cervical cancer programs and the quality and completeness of national cancer registries in the region.
  • The three-year partnership has reached its 1 year milestone and today launches its annual report to detail progress made in 2015.
  • PAHO Foundation with support from the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) and its members, with an additional contributions from Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer, and in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), coordinates the Women’s Cancer Initiative in Latin American and Caribbean (LAC), where breast and cervical cancer are leading causes of preventable and premature death among women.

PAHO Foundation and IFPMA launch today the annual report of the public-private partnership (PPP) Women’s Cancer Initiative in the Americas. The three-year project aims to improve the effectiveness of breast and cervical cancer programs in at least 2 LAC countries and improve the quality and effectiveness of cancer registries in at least 4 LAC countries.

Breast and cervical cancer are the most common cancers affecting women; cancer is the second leading cause of death in LAC. Breast and cervical cancer are highly amenable to early detection and cure, but women continue to die prematurely from these diseases due to a number of barriers in the health care services and infrastructure.

The first year of this partnership saw great progress along three work streams. First, raising awareness of breast and cervical cancer to empower women to seek screening and early detection services. To this end, the partnership produced a number of educational materials for the public on breast and cervical cancer prevention, detection and treatment. Second, carrying out a pilot project with the Ministry of Health in Chile to strengthen national cervical cancer screening programs as well as a series of policy workshops with government officials and health experts. Third, holding a cancer registry training with relevant officials in 11 countries, in collaboration with the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and hosted by the National Cancer Institute of Argentina.

With many of the fundamentals now in place after the 1st year of the Women’s Cancer Initiative in the Americas, 2016 will yield further results in the fight against women’s cancers in the Americas. A key milestone for the partnership in 2016 will be a regional forum for breast cancer screening and detection, with a view to developing a set of quality standards for mammography to be locally adapted with LAC.

“We are very pleased to report on the first year of progress since launching the Women’s Cancer Initiative; our goal is to secure long-term improvements in screening, early detection and treatment of breast and cervical cancers in the region through this partnership and with others in the future,” commented Jennie Ward-Robinson, President and CEO of PAHO Foundation.

“Focused efforts are critical in ensuring transformational health outcomes; we joined this initiative to drive for real impact by equipping and empowering women and healthcare professionals with data, knowledge and efficient tools,” said Eduardo Pisani, Director General, IFPMA.

Washington DC / Geneva, 18 January 2016


The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) represents over 90 innovative pharmaceutical companies and associations around the world. Our industry’s almost three million employees discover, develop, and deliver medicines and vaccines that advance global health. Based in Geneva, IFPMA has official relations with the United Nations and contributes industry expertise to help the global health community improve the lives of people everywhere. For more information, visit

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Elliot Dunster