BY OLUFISOYE ADENITAN
Introduction of Human Papiloma Virus Vaccine into Routine immunization and Safety of Girls against Cervical cancer in Nigeria
The Federal Ministry of Health, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency targets 7.7 million Girls with the free doses of HPV Vaccine with an initial roll out in 16 States and another 21 states by May 2024
By the end of 2025 ,16.6 million Girls between ages of nine and 14 are expected to be vaccinated by the free doses against Cervical cancer
Cervical Cancer is a deadly disease that kills about 22 women daily according to estimates from the international Agency for Research on Cancer .
The primary cause of Cervical cancer is persistent or chronic infections with one or more high risk types of Human Papiloma Virus particularly types 16 and 18 which results to 70 percent of cervical cancer cases .
However , Cervical cancer is preventable through vaccination,screening and treatment but low ,middle income countries have performed poorly in responding to this avoidable deaths .
As of 2020, Less than 25 percent to 30 percent of low income and lower middle income countries had introduce the HPV vaccine into their National immunization schedules in comparison to 85 percent in high income countries.
With the Recent progress and development by the federal government on the introduction of The HPV vaccine through the support of GAVI, UNICEF,WHO and others to give free doses of type 16 and 18 to Nigeria girls between this ages 9 and 14years , the federal ministry of health , the National Primary Health Care Development Agency and the National Heath insurance Authority should geared efforts towards raising more awareness across the country on the need for Nigerians to embrace this giañt stride and break through in the health system.
This became necessary considering the Socio- religious and cultural beliefs that had overtime captured the minds of ordinary Nigerians towards believing in miracles resulting in deaths of millions of women from preventable diseases like cervical cancer .
At this point , practical steps should be taken to make girls available for this vaccine rather than denying girls from taking the doses
The National Primary Health care development agency has started giving the doses to some girls in secondary schools in osun state captured in the first phase but a lot of parents despite the prevalence of the cervical cancer still feels it is dangerous for their daughters to take the vaccine.
In Ondo state ,the immunization of girls Against human Papiloma virus Type 16 and 18 will kickstart by January 2024
The media needs to play a critical role to educate the public against misconceptions about the vaccine so that it should be embraced for the safety of girls and their future .
It is also important that the screening and treatment of older women must be done quickly to create more needless cervical cancer deaths.