Kwara State Initiates HPV Vaccination for Schoolgirls to Combat Cervical Cancer

Date: 2024-05-28

According to a news report from Punch, 787 girls from Kwara Basic Schools received the HPV vaccine on Monday in Ilorin, the state capital, as part of a campaign to prevent cervical cancer.

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), in partnership with the Kwara State government, launched the free vaccination programme among schoolchildren in the state.

Punch reports that the Federal Government had announced Monday, May 27, as the start date for the second phase of the HPV vaccination campaign in the country.

This second phase will include the states of Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Niger, Ondo, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Yobe, and Zamfara.

During the rollout of the Human Papillomavirus vaccine in Ilorin, the Executive Director of the NPHCDA, Dr Muyi Aina, highlighted that cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women globally and the second most common cancer affecting women in Nigeria.

He noted that a total of 787 schoolchildren were vaccinated at the commencement of the programme in the state.

Aina, who was represented by Sheu Hassan, described the HPV vaccine as “a very important vaccine,” adding, “It prevents the HPV, which is the most common viral infection of the reproductive tract and causes more than 95 per cent of cases of cervical cancer.”

He said that eligible girls between the ages of 9 and 14 years across the 193 wards in the 16 local government areas of Kwara State would be vaccinated against cervical cancer during the five-day programme.

“I believe that together, we will achieve the goal of this exercise. At least 80 per cent of eligible girls aged nine to 14 years will be reached during the five-day intensification, after which the HPV vaccines will be accessed by our girls through routine immunisation services in our PHC facilities.

“Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women globally and the second most common cancer affecting women in Nigeria. It is estimated that 604,000 cases with 342,000 deaths occurred globally in 2020, and an estimated 12,075 cases and 7,968 deaths were recorded in Nigeria,” the NPHCDA boss said.

He described the vaccine as free, safe, and effective, urging stakeholders to mobilise family members, friends, and communities to ensure that all eligible girls got vaccinated.

In her remarks, the wife of the Kwara State Governor, Olufolake AbdulRazaq, assured of the efficacy of the vaccine, while she charged stakeholders to dispel rumours and misconceptions against the HPV vaccines.

“Today’s event set the tone for an ambitious, inclusive strategy to accelerate eliminating cervical cancer as a public health concern. Elimination is within the reach of all, hence we in Kwara are committed to towing this path to ensure that we seize the opportunities within our reach now, so that our girls will live free of this disease.

“In complementing the efforts that culminated in incorporating the HPV vaccine into the national routine immunisation schedule and today’s rollout, however, I urge key stakeholders in respective communities to continue to amplify awareness and sensitisation on the benefits of presenting eligible children for the vaccine.

“This no doubt will entail engagements with our communities, traditional and religious institutions to educate, inform, and dispel any misconceptions surrounding the HPV vaccine,” she added.

 


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