The Ogun State Government has flagged off the commencement of advocacy, communication and social mobilisation on Human Papillomavirus Vaccines(HPV) across the 236 wards of the state, a project under the Ogun State Primary Health Care Development Board.
Penpushing reports that the flag off took place at the headquarters of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) located in Lukosi area along Moshood Abiola Way, Abeokuta, and had in attendance relevant stakeholders
The Commissioner for Health, Dr Tommy Coker who flagged off the programme pointed out that Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (HPV) is the most common viral infection in the reproductive tract and it causes more than ninety five percent of cases of cervical cancer which is the fourth leading cancer in women globally
‘As we know Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the most common viral infection in the reproductive tract and it causes more than ninety five percent of cases of cervical cancer which is the fourth leading cancer in women globally”, she said
‘However, in Nigeria it is the second most common cancer affecting women and it was estimated that over 12000 new cases and 7068 deaths were recorded in Nigeria in 2020 alone which means that at least 700 of these deaths would have been preventable if they have had the HPV vaccine and it has been established that one cancer which you can prevent and immunize against is the cervical cancer”, Coker added
‘It would be a travesty if you do not embrace this program because if we immunise our girls between the age of 9 and 14 against HPPV then we know it is effective to prevent the cancer of cervix when they attain the age of 50 upward”, she stated
Penpushing further reports that Coker faulted the wide spread believe among Nigerians that vaccines like this is the white man agenda to reduce and kill them, disclosing that her only daughter has been vaccinated.
The Health Commissioner explained that the vaccine has been tested and proved in highly developed countries, adding that though the vaccine is highly expensive but has been made free for the beneficiaries.
‘This HPV Vaccine which will be introduced into routine immunization is scheduled with the conduct of mass campaign will hold September this year among young girls age 9 to 13 . Sadly, out reality in Nigeria is that girls at age 9 are already sexually active”, Coker stated
Penpushing also reports that, a gynecologist while emphasisng the importance of this vaccine and to affirm that cervical cancer is not an old person disease, told a story of what led to the promoting of cervical screening and immunization.
The stakeholder recalled the story of a 27 year old lady and celebrity on Big brother at England 2012,adding that the young lady had a cervical smear but didn’t know the result was abnormal, and thereafter traveled to India adding that by the time she returned the cancer had gotten to advance stage in which she died shortly after.
‘The more reason we need to bare this in mind that if we are to prevent our daughters ,nieces and sisters and mentees from dying unnecessary death we have to embrace this program and mobilize ourselves enmass to make sure we will not have any regret, because most of us will not be here if these young ones develop cervical cancer at age 60. You all are the key to the success of HPV vaccine drive in Ogun state”
Penpushing reports that another stakeholder, Omotayo Giwa in her goodwill message established the need, effective and importance of the vaccine, as well encouraging field workers to educate people on the risk involve if they play ignorance.
The stakeholder tasked them to give the right information and continue to engage people so as to have the target girls vaccinated within the planned space explaining that after the year of the introduction only girls of age 9 will be eligible for the vaccination.
“We want to ensure that we capture girls within the age of 10 to 13 and as partners and colleagues at CHAI we will continue to support Ogun state to put out all the ACSM activities to ensure we have the right messages and we have the vaccines already available’, she added.
Penpushing further reports that on her part Mrs. Aderonke Akinola noted that the core mandate of the UNICEF is the survival and developmental growth of the children, adding that United Nations (UN) is also extending the gestures to the adolescents
‘Our core mandate at UNICEF remains the survival and development of children and we are extending it further to also cover the adolescents and this is the reason we are actively supporting the movement of the vaccine to ensure that no child’s future is hampered because of something that can be prevented’, she stated.
‘Cervical cancer is a deadly disease which can be prevented and it is wisdom for us to take that route of prevention to engage and mobilise our young girls within our communities to take this vaccine .We want to assure everyone that we will not rest on our oars until every eligible girl within the age of 9 to 14 in the nooks and crannies of Ogun state is reached with this vaccine”
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