June 24, 2024

NPHCDA, Kwara Gov to vaccinate 311,000 girls against cervical cancer

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency has partnered with the Kwara State Government to kick off a free Human Papillomavirus vaccination exercise against cervical cancer among schoolchildren.

At the exercise in Ilorin, the Chief Executive Officer of NPHCDA, Dr Muyi Aina, said cervical cancer was the fourth most common cancer in women globally.

He identified the same cancer as 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,” he said.

Mr Aina said that the HPV vaccine was therefore an important vaccine that prevents cancer.

According to him, HPV is the most common viral infection of the reproductive tract and causes more than 95 per cent of cases of cervical cancer.

He said all eligible girls between the ages of nine and 14 years across the 193 wards in the 16 local government areas of Kwara would be vaccinated during the five-day exercise.

“At least 80 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,” he said.

Mobilising family members, friends and communities for all eligible girls to be vaccinated, he said the vaccine was free, safe, and effective.

In her remarks, the state governor’s wife, Prof. Olufolake AbdulRazaq, reassured stakeholders of the vaccine’s efficacy.

She charged all to dispel rumours and misconceptions about the HPV vaccine.

She observed that a total of 787 schoolchildren were already vaccinated at the event.

She stated, “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 that are within our reach now so that our girls will live free of this disease.

“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.’’

Earlier in her welcome address, Executive Secretary of the state Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Nusirat Elelu, described HPV as a common virus that could affect different parts of the body.

She explained that it could be transmitted through sexual intercourse as well as oral sex.

Ms Elelu said that the HPV vaccine targeted the HPV types that most commonly cause cervical cancer and some cancers of the vulva, vagina, and anus.

Appealing to parents to dispel rumours or misinformation about the vaccine, she said 311,000 girls; aged nine to 14, would be reached.



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