Anambra govt begins free vaccination against Human Papilloma Virus among girls


The Government of Anambra State has introduced Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine into its routine immunization to reduce the risk of HPV infection and subsequent development of cervical cancer.

Those eligible to take the free vaccine are girls aged 9 to 14 years as it provides a strong shield against the virus before any potential exposure and ensure that Anambra girls have a better chance of healthy future, free from cervical cancer.

The flag-off ceremony of HPV vaccine Introduction into Routine Immunization took place at Micheal Tansi Secondary School, Aguleri, Anambra East council area of the state and was organised by Anambra State Primary Healthcare Development Agency in collaboration with State Ministry of Health and Partners.

Performing the flag off ceremony on Tuesday, the wife of Anambra State Governor, Dr Mrs Nonye Soludo said under her watch, cervical cancer is going to become a thing of the past in Anambra state, and that no Anambra woman will die of the ailment.

She noted that through her Healthy Living Initiative, she had begun free cervical cancer screening and treatment at some health facilities in the state for early dictation and treatment of cervical cancer.

“Am deeply honoured fo stand before you as we embark on this all-important initiative that promises to safeguard the future of our children and tackle a significant health challenge head-on.

“Cervical cancer is a scourge that is fast becoming one of the leading causes of death among women. Every year in Nigeria, it silently manifest in about 12,000 women and take the lives of 8000 promising women, leaving husbands without wives, children without mothers and families in financial ruin.

“In my capacity as the first lady of Anambra state through my Healthy Living Initiative, we are already offering free cervical cancer screening and treatment at some health facilities in Anambra state to provide early dictation, screen and treatment for the wives and daughters of Ndi Anambra.

“Let us come out en masse to get our daughters 25 years and above screened to know their health status.

“The introduction of HPV vaccine marks a significant milestone in our mission to improve the health and well being of our state young girls

“With HPV vaccine, we will protect our girls from this disease and no husband will become wifeless and no child will be rendered motherless because of cervical cancer.”

While urging traditional rulers and religious leaders to pass the good news to their subjects and congregants, Mrs Soludo however asked parents and guardians to take their wards within the stipulated age bracket (9-14 years) to primary healthcare centres and desgnated vaccination points to get them vaccinated and protect their future from cervical cancer.

Earlier, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Afam Obidike said Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo’s administration is planning well for the Anambra children from conception to birth and up to Junior Secondary School (JSS3) free of charge both in education and health intervention services.

He noted that this was why the government is involving communities in all its health interventions, stressing that the vaccine costs #24,000 a jab but Anambra state through her partners, is giving it free of charge.

Responding, the Executive Secretary, Anambra State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Pharm Mrs Chisom Uchem described Human Papilloma Virus as the most common viral infection of the reproductive tract and causes more than 95% of cases of cervical cancer, and second most common cancer affecting women in Nigeria with an estimate of 12,075 reported new cases and 7,968 deaths recorded in 2020 alone.

She noted that the agency is collaborating with healthcare providers, schools and communities to guarantee that all girls within the required age bracket, receive the vaccine free of charge, adding that it will be integrated into routine immunization schedule afterwards, to make it accessible like any other routine vaccine available in government health facilities.###

By Ifeizu Joe

Ifeizu is a seasoned journalist and Managing Editor of TheRazor. He has wide knowledge of Anambra State and has reported the state objectively for over a decade.

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