(Visakhapatnam: January 7th, 2023) American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), in collaboration with the AAPI India Foundation administered free HPV vaccines to over 100 low income young girls, chosen from several government schools in the region, during a special launch of HPV Vaccination awareness camp organized at the Mahatma Gandhi Cancer Hospital, Visakhapatnam in India on Saturday, January 7th, 2023 with the objective of creating awareness and preventing cervical cancer, a leading cause of cancer deaths among women in India.
“We at AAPI, in keeping with our efforts and initiatives to educate, create awareness and provide support on disease prevention, are happy to be part of the HPV Vaccine Awareness Program,” Dr. Ravi Kolli, President of AAPI said. “It was truly an enriching experience to be present in person and meeting with the young women and be part of this life saving mission.”
The awareness camp was organized as part of APPI’s 16th annual Global Healthcare Summit (GHS) 2023 and was inaugurated in person by Chief Guest at the Summit, Smt. Vidadala Rajini, Honorable Minister for Health, Family Welfare & Medical Education. In her address, the Minister, praised the efforts and the many initiatives of AAPI in providing the best and efficient healthcare to the most vulnerable sections of the society. She urged AAPI to work collaboratively with the government of Andhra Pradesh to make healthcare affordable and efficient for all.
While elaborating the objectives of the Summit, Dr. V. Ranga, AAPI BOT Chair said, “In addition to HPV VACCINATION and cervical cancer awareness program, GHS 2023 has provided education on: Chronic diseases which can be prevented- notably diabetes, cardiovascular, hypertension, maternal and infant mortality, lifestyle changes, mental health, management of neurological disorders and blindness prevention.”
Attended by nearly 500 delegates, the largest ever to attend the AAPI GHS, from the United States and India, the GHS 2023 is being jointly organized by AAPI and the local organizing committee at Visakhapatnam from January 6th to 8th, 2023. This Global Healthcare Summit, with participation from leading medical professionals, thought leaders, heads of several health industry sectors, and policy-makers has been instrumental in help create policies and programs that make healthcare delivery in India equitably available to everyone in India. “In coordination with the local organizers, AAPI donated the funds for the HPV Vaccination, a total of 200 doses for the vaccine for 100 children from the state of Andhra Pradesh,” said Dr. Meher Medavaram, an organizer of the program, and the Secretary of AAPI. “AAPI’s noble initiative through education and awareness programs is aimed at helping save many lives in India,” she added.
The funds for the vaccine has been provided by Dr. Rao Mowa, Dr. Medavaram, Dr. Syed Ahmed, Dr. V. Ranga, AAPI BOT Chair, A T G Tours, and Shri. Sadasiva Rao and others. Prominent among those who attended the event and supported the noble initiative included, Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President of AAPI, Dr. Mallikarjuna, Collector and District Magistrate, Visakhapatnam; Dr. Jagadeeswara Rao, DM & HO, Visakhapatnam; Smt. Chandralekha, DEO; and, Dr. Suresh Reddy, past President of AAPI.
Dr. T. Radha, Chair of AAPI Women’s Forum, who was part of the cervical awareness campaign event said, “If vaccination programs are effectively implemented, approximately 90 percent of invasive cervical cancer cases worldwide could be prevented, in addition to the majority of precancerous lesions.”
In India, cervical cancer is the second most common type of cancer among women and India contributes to the largest proportion of global cervical cancer burden. Cervical cancer is a preventable and curable disease as long as it is detected early and managed effectively. Most cervical cancers are associated with the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and the HPV vaccine can prevent most cases of cervical cancer if the vaccine is given before girls or women are exposed to the virus. Prevention through vaccination is one of the pillars of the Global Strategy adopted by WHO for the elimination of cervical cancer.
Dr. Anjana Samaddar, President-Elect of AAPI said, “Cervical cancer could be the first cancer EVER in the world to be eliminated, if 90 % of girls are vaccinated; 70% of women are screened; and, 90% of women with cervical disease receive treatment. This is an important step towards reaching goal,” she pointed out.
Cervical cancer develops slowly over time, and another powerful preventive measure is Pap test screening, a procedure during which cells are collected from the surface of the cervix and examined. The Pap test can both detect cancer at an early stage, when treatment outcomes tend to be better, and detect precancerous abnormalities, which can then be treated to prevent them from developing into cancers.
Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President of AAPI, who was among those who attended the awareness camp, said, “Cervical Cancer is preventable through Vaccination and Early Pap smears and cervical examinations. Justifiably so, one of our preventive campaign goals has been to provide education and prevention of Cervical Cancer in India.”
According to The American Cancer Society, Cervical Cancer was once one of the most common causes of cancer death for American women. The cervical cancer death rate dropped significantly with the increased use of the Pap test for screening. Cervical cancer is among a number of cancers that can be caused by infections with pathogens – bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
“Through Continuing Medical Education and non-CME seminars by experts in their fields, AAPI provides comprehensive and current reviews and guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of various disease states to reduce morbidity and mortality and achieve cost effective quality care outcomes,” said Dr. Suresh Reddy, past President of AAPI.
Expressing confidence, Dr. Ravi Kolli said, “Together we can all bring awareness in the community to prevent Cervical Cancer in India, which is the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths among women!” For more information and ways to support this noble initiatve, please visit www.aapiusa.org/