Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Partnership (PRRR)

Partnership objectives

  1. Reduce deaths from cervical cancer by 25% among women screened and treated  in partner countries;
  2. Achieve at least 80% coverage of vaccination against the human papillomavirus (HPV);
  3. Screen at least 80% of the appropriate target populations for pre-invasive cervical cancer, and treat those found with lesions;
  4. Increase awareness of, and reduce stigma about, breast and cervical cancer among the health community and the general population, and promote the early detection of disease;
  5. Create and test innovative models and approaches to sustainability, financing, service delivery, and laboratory and data systems that can be scaled up and used globally.

An innovative partnership to leverage public and private investments in global health to combat cervical and breast cancer. An innovative partnership to leverage public and private investments in global health to combat cervical and breast cancer. Copyright Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon

What are the health needs and challenges?

Cervical cancer is the most common women’s cancer in sub-Saharan Africa and is the third-most common cancer in women, with 485,000 new cases and 236,000 deaths in 2013 alone. More than 85% of the global burden of cervical cancer occurs in developing countries, and 80-90% of women in sub-Saharan Africa have never had a pelvic exam. Cervical cancer is five times more common among women who are HIV-positive. By 2030, cervical cancer is expected to claim nearly half a million lives per year, with over 95% of deaths concentrated in low- and middle-income countries.

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon (PRRR) is an innovative partnership to leverage public and private investments in global health to combat cervical and breast cancer – two of the leading causes of cancer death in women - in developing nations in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.

Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon offers the HPV vaccination to pre-adolescent girls, which prevents most cases of cervical cancer. PRRR supports country-led vaccination campaigns with vaccine donations, programmes, and resources for community education and outreach.

PRRR supports its partners to screen women for breast cancer via clinical breast examinations, and provides screening for cervical cancer for women aged 30-49 years, particularly those living with HIV.

Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon’s partners implement the simple, inexpensive cervical pre-cancer “See-and-Treat” screening approach. It involves visual inspection of the cervix with vinegar (acetic acid) to detect pre-cancerous lesions, followed soon or immediately afterward, when necessary, by ablative or electrosurgical (LEEP) treatment, as dictated by the woman’s needs. PRRR is also helping test new molecular testing technologies that will help focus resources on women at highest risk of developing cancer.

In 2016, 316 652 women have been screened for cervical cancer, 119 192 girls have received all doses of the HPV vaccination and 22 039 women have been treated with cryotherapy or LEEP for cervical cancer.

The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation has committed $1.2 million over three years, and will work with its Secure the Future Technical Assistance Program faculty in the region to expand the availability of vital cervical cancer screening and treatment and breast care education and detection, especially for women most at risk of getting these cancers in Secure the Future target countries because they are HIV-positive. In Tanzania, with the Foundation’s support, five community-based organizations will screen more than 50,000 women between ages 30 and 50 years and those living with HIV for cervical and breast cancer as well as refer 600 for treatment at regional hospitals.

In September 2011, MSD* announced that it would contribute USD 3 million over three years to the Pink Ribbon-Red Ribbon initiative to help address both cervical and breast cancer in sub-Saharan African nations by supporting disease education, screening and treatment efforts as well as increased access to cervical cancer vaccination. Through this three-year partnership, MSD will work with Susan G. Komen for the Cure to support the first phase of the program to raise awareness in Zambia and Tanzania about the burden of breast and cervical cancer, mobilize additional program partners and donors, advocate for increased access to screening, treatment and cervical cancer vaccination as well as to promote follow-up care among women in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, MSD has provided in-kind donations and technical support to the national cervical cancer vaccination programs in both Zambia and Botswana.

Measurement of progress towards objectives 

Estimated overall value of partnership:

  • USD $2,313 991 from 2015

Estimated amount of people impacted:

  • 7,922 women VIA-screened in Ethiopia
  • 727 women VIA-positive in Ethiopia
  • 658 women treated with cryotherapy in Ethiopia
  • 32,123 women VIA screened in Tanzania
  • 1,657 women VIA-positive in Tanzania
  • 1,038 women treated with cryotherapy in Tanzania
  • 67 women treated with LEEP in Tanzania
  • 7,158 women screened for breast cancer in Tanzania
  • 175 women transported for advanced cervical cancer treatment in Tanzania
  • Total: 51,525


* MSD is known as Merck in the U.S. and Canada.

Partnership information

Company(ies) Bristol-Myers Squibb , GlaxoSmithKline , MSD

Partner(s) Airborne Lifeline Foundation, American Cancer Society (ACS), American Society for Clinical Pathology, BD (Becton Dickinson), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Caris Foundation, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), GE Foundation, George W. Bush Institute, IAEA-Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT), IBM, Livestrong Foundation, MD Anderson Cancer Center, National Breast Cancer Foundation, QIAGEN, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, U.S. National Cancer Institute, UNAIDS, US President´s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)

Type of Partner(s) Academia / Hospitals, Government, IGOs, NGOs, Other Business, Professional Associations

Therapeutic Focus Non-Communicable Diseases, Women and Children's Health, Infectious Diseases

Disease(s) Adolescent Health, Breast Cancer, Cancer, Cervical Cancer, HIV/AIDS, Women's Health

Program Type(s) Health System Infrastructure - Development of Physical Infrastructure, Health System Infrastructure - Outreach & Medical Services, Health System Infrastructure - Training, Prevention Programs - Awareness & Outreach, Research & Development - Operations Research

Targeted Population(s) Mothers, Patients in needs of treatment, People with low income, Women, Youth

Region(s) Latin America & Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa

Number of Countries 6

Country(ies) Botswana, Ethiopia, Namibia, Peru, Tanzania, Zambia

Start Date 2011

More information Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Impact of PRRR

Anticipated completion date Ongoing

« Tragically, four of every five women diagnosed with cervical cancer in Tanzania die within five years of their diagnosis because the cancer is detected at an advanced stage or because they have limited access to care. »

John Damonti, president, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation