The 17th Annual James Gear Memorial Lecture entitled “Cervical cancer elimination: give us the tools and we will finish the job” was delivered on 13 November 2023 by Professor Helen Rees. Professor Helen Rees is recognised internationally as an award-winning global health medical practitioner who has dedicated her professional career to improving public health in Africa. Helen is the founder and Executive Director of Wits RHI, the largest research Institute at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa and has served on and chaired many national and global scientific committees and boards. She is the board chair of the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority. She chairs the WHO’s African Regional Technical Advisory Group on Immunization. She has contributed to the evolution of HIV and STI vaccine research through chairing or membership of WHO and UNAIDS expert committees and is currently a member of the WHO Director General’s Expert Group on Cervical Cancer Elimination. She has been PI or co-investigator on several HPV vaccine studies and is currently co-chair on two studies exploring HPV vaccine impact among girls in communities with high HIV prevalence, and on the effectiveness of a single dose of HPV vaccine. She is a member of a WHO HPV vaccine expert committee and chairs the South African NITAG’s HPV technical working group.