I had just left a group of the most compassionate and generous people, both villagers and visitors, in the poorest of areas who represented the best in human nature, to return to face the opposite in a country of such affluence. What direction has our society taken?
I know there is a segment of the population that has expressed intense concern over vaccines in general and that this is an emotional issue for some. But based on the science, my personal view is that the benefits of the HPV vaccine far outweigh its risks.
As thousands of delegates gather in Kuala Lumpur for the third global Women Deliver conference this week to discuss the health and empowerment of women and girls around the world, it's worth remembering that for women in their reproductive years, AIDS remains a leading cause of death.
Perhaps the most insidious obstacle toward HPV vaccination resides in a nasty little parenting decision. When exactly should we vaccinate our boys and girls? The answer is key, because vaccines should be applied at least six months before the first exposure to the virus.
World Cancer Day is an opportunity to act on an urgent moral imperative, to challenge the assumption that cancers must remain untreated in poor countries, just as was successfully done for HIV treatment more than a decade ago.
Today, World Cancer Day, I am remembering nurse Elyse Bila Ouedraogo. Diagnosed with cervical cancer, she had just returned from Morocco where she had traveled for treatment because of the advanced stage of her disease. I was humbled by her strong spirit.
Unfortunately, housing a cervix, a uterus, fallopian tubes and a vaginal canal makes women susceptible to a heap of health issues. I'll never forget the day that I received a phone call informing me that my then-16-year-old cousin had ovarian cancer.
Annually in the U.S. about 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and for 4,000 of them, it's fatal. African-American women with cervical cancer are twice as likely to lose their lives to this disease than white women.
Many people complain about the lack of cures for cancer but when a preventative vaccine for a type of cancer is within our reach, too few reach out for it. Even worse, we are neglecting to protect our daughters.