• Saturday, July 13, 2024
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Rotary International to vaccinate 10,000 girls against cervical cancer

cervical cancer test

Concern by the high rate of cervical cancer in the country, the Rotary International, District 9110 is set to support states across Nigeria to vaccinate approximately ten thousand girls with human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines through pilot projects.

The demonstration programmes will give each girl the opportunity to be vaccinated. HPV vaccines are given to girls aged nine to 13 to protect them against cervical cancer.

“Cervical cancer is the second commonest cancer in women after breast cancer, but it kills more than breast cancer,” said Jide Akeredolu, district governor, Rotary International District of 9110. “We know that from the World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics it kills 26 women in Nigeria every day and that is a troubling statistic, meaning that a woman dies of cervical cancer in Nigeria every 5 minutes.”

Akeredolu explained that cervical cancer is a unique cancer in the sense that a proper vaccination with the right vaccines against the virus will prevent the girls from having cancer in their lifetime, unlike other cancers that do not have vaccines.

“Rotary is passionate about cervical cancer just as we take on polio in 1995, we have taken on cervical cancer. It is a much bigger project but whatever it takes, we are taking that first step today.

“We have decided to take it head-on, is going to be a huge project and we plan to vaccinate at least 10,000 girls this rotary year against the scourge of cervical cancer,” he said

The district governor said that these pilot projects have not be done anywhere in Nigeria even in Africa apart from Rwanda stating that probably because the vaccines are expensive. So the government shies away from it.

Akeredolu further explained that each vaccine cost N11, 000 and to protect a girl completely, they need at least 2 dosages; meaning to protect a girl will cost N22, 000.

“This is small if the compared cost to treat someone with cervical cancer. We are focusing on the primary prevention and that is actually immunising the girls against HPV, so this will actually prevent it even before it occurs at all,” he said.

Also speaking Adetoun Agbe- Davies Chairman, Cervical Cancer Prevention Project Committee said we are launching this today and the centre is domiciled at the Estate Junior Secondary School, Town Planning Way, Ilupeju, Lagos and we have lined up schools and we have a very good corporation with the Lagos and Ogun state government and they have given us all the permission.

“What rotary is focusing on is the primary prevention where you do not even let them get it at all. Over 114 girl students were vaccinated against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), the virus that causes cervical cancer in women, was the first of its kind.

“The 2 dosages have to be 6 months’ space apart, about 117 students were given consent forms for the vaccination but only three declined because they are going to sign that they allow us to give the vaccines,” she said.

According to Ajayi Adunni Opeyemi, principal Estate Junior Secondary School, who appreciated the Rotarians “This is a laudable project that will save the lives of many girls in the country and I advise all schools that will be approached to imbibe and associate with this kind of laudable programme.

However, an estimated 266,000 women die every year from cervical cancer, of which more than 85 percent live in low-income countries, according to the latest statistics published by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Without changes in prevention and control, cervical cancer deaths are expected to rise to 416,000 by 2035, with over 95% expected to be women living in poor countries.

 

ANTHONIA OBOKOH