• Thursday, February 29, 2024
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FG moves to protect girls from cervical cancer with introduction of HPV vaccines

More Nigerian women at risk of cervical cancer over cost of HPV vaccine

…targets 997,042 girls of 9 to 14 years in Ogun

As part of clinical measures aimed at protecting the teenage girls of ages 9 to 14 in the country against cervical cancer and related diseases, the Federal Government has rolled out Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines to immunize millions of girls across 36 States and Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

The clinical immunization against the cervical cancer and other related diseases, according to the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), will be rolled out September 25th to curtail Human Papillomavirus infection which is the most common viral infection in the reproductive tract and causes more than 95% of cases of cervical cancer.

Speaking in Abeokuta at a recent Stakeholders meeting held on advocacy, communication and social mobilisation on the introduction of HPV vaccines, Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), disclosed that the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection causes second most common cancer that affects women in Nigeria, hence, the Federal Government moved to introduce the HPV vaccines to prevent and protect the girl children.

Read also: More Nigerian women at risk of cervical cancer over cost of HPV vaccine

Shuaib, who was represented by Oluwatosin Ademola, said that the HPV vaccination would be conducted in phases across the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, as the first phase would cover 16 States of the Federation, including Ogun State this year, while the rest of the States would be covered in the second phase scheduled for next year.

Also, Tomi Coker, Ogun State Commissioner for Health, said the introduction of HPV vaccines against cervical cancer was long overdue going by the estimated cases of 12,075 with 7,968 deaths recorded in Nigeria in 2020, adding that the immunization of girls aged 9 to 14 years against HPV infection would be most effective in preventing cervical cancer and other related diseases.

Coker stated that a total of 997,042 girls 9 to 14 years of age would be vaccinated across 20 local government areas of the State, starting from 25th September, 2023 as the Government had inaugurated State technical working group and social mobilisation committee who are expected to meet and sensitise religious and traditional leaders as well as education officers, schools teachers and relevant stakeholders, as part of efforts to get everybody involved in the immunization programme.

While expressing appreciation to the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Ogun State Primary Health Care Board, UNICEF, WHO, Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) and National Orientation Agency (NOA), Coker promised that the immunization programme would be conducted across 236 political wards and 20 local government areas in order to cover more girls and prevent possible spread of HPV infection through the HPV immunization.

Earlier, Elijah Ogunsola, Executive Secretary, Ogun State Primary Health Care Development Board (OGPHCDB), who emphasised the significance of advocacy in achieving the goal of the vaccination, said that the Board would capture the girls of 10 to 14 years in the first year of introduction in order to cover more girls of puberty age as more girls would be covered subsequently.

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