Jakarta (ANTARA) - Deputy Minister of Health Dante Saksono Harbuwono has said that the launch of the 4-valent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine NusaGard is a concrete form of Indonesia's pharmaceutical independence in cervical cancer eradication.

"In every two minutes, there is one woman in the world who dies of cervical cancer. There are 36 thousand new cases every year and 21 thousand deaths every year in Indonesia," he highlighted after attending the launch of the NusaGard vaccine here on Wednesday.

The vaccine is being produced at a facility owned by state-owned pharmaceutical holding PT Bio Farma in Bandung City, West Java, in collaboration with global pharmaceutical company PT Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) Indonesia.

Wednesday's launch of the NusaGard vaccine was a follow-up to the signing of a cooperation agreement between MSD and Bio Farma on December 13, 2022, in Jakarta.

According to Harbuwono, the locally produced vaccine is expected to increase and expand the coverage of HPV vaccination in Indonesia.

He said that the collaboration is an important milestone for Indonesia, especially in the health sector. The Ministry of Health has expressed its appreciation for the strategic cooperation that has been built to support the health transformation in Indonesia.

The Indonesian Government is encouraging an improvement in access to HPV vaccines in Indonesia by expanding the coverage of HPV immunization through the National Immunization Program (PIN), which was rolled out in August 2023 as part of the School Children Immunization Month (BIAS) program.

On the same occasion, Assistant Deputy of Health Industry at the Ministry of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Aditya Dhanwantara said the cooperation between Bio Farma and MSD is a concrete step for Indonesia to play a more active role toward national health resilience.

"Hopefully, this cooperation can continue and become the beginning of Indonesia's health industry's revival," he added.

While delivering his remarks, the managing director of MSD Indonesia, George Stylianou, expressed pride over the launch of the NusaGard vaccine in Indonesia.

He said the success of the 4-valent HPV vaccine technology transfer from MSD to Bio Farma has resulted in the first locally-produced HPV vaccine in Indonesia.

MSD is a pharmaceutical company based in the United States and Canada that has been working for the development of pharmaceutical science and technology for more than 130 years.

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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Raka Adji
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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