By Joyce Remi-Babayeju
The Federal Government said it is set to introduce the Human Papilloma Virus vaccine first into the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, to knock out cervical cancer in adolescence girls between the ages of 9 to 14.
The Executive Secretary of the FCT Primary Health Care Board, Dr. Isah Vatsa today at One Day Stakeholders meeting on the Introduction of Human Papilloma Virus, HPV , vaccine into the Routine immunization said that the vaccine will be available at selected Primary Health Care facilities by 25th of September 2023 for young girls between ages 9–14 to be vaccinated against cervical cancer disease.
Vatsa disclosed that the Federal Government has provided the vaccine, which will get to inter lands across the FCT.
He said , ” The HPV vaccine is safe, effective, and safe and once a child takes it, she is protected from cervical cancer.”
He revealed that most rich people in the country have either taken their children out of the country to be vaccinated or taken them to private facilities to get vaccinated because the vaccine is expensive.
It is also observed that most children who have cervical cancer are from poor backgrounds, but now the Government is making it free for children within this age bracket, Vatsa stated.
One of the traditional leaders present at the occasion, Sarkin Jiwa, Dr. Musa Idris, said that it is the mission of the FCT to kick-start the campaign against HPV and cervical cancer which is a disease common among women.
He said that the campaign against cervical cancer is to help eradicate the disease, especially now that you people are having multiple sex partners.
He promised that as a leader , he would sensitization would be carried out at the local level to educate his people on reasons to be vaccinated against the deadly disease.
Furthermore, HRH Usman Nda Kupi the Sapeyi of Garki, said that cancer is a disease feared by all, especially in the rural areas.
He said,” I urge the FCT Primary Health Care Board, to sensitize our people through the different media channels on the HPV vaccine campaign, so they can understand what it is about and the need for the young girls to be vaccinated.”
According to the Traditional Ruler, Women are always shy to come out to own up that they have cervical cancer or to present themselves for test.
“Cancer is dangerous, enlighten our people and make them understand that they do not need to be shy.”
Nda Kupi urged the government to make the vaccines available, as they would engage their community women leaders to go out to urge women to allow their children to come out for the vaccination.
National President of the Nigerian Association of Women Journalist, NAWOJ , Comrade Ladi Bala who was represented by the Vice Chairperson of NAWOJ FCT, Comrade Joyce Remi-Babayeju said that NAWOJ was excited about the introduction HPV vaccine now as a Routine immunization, RI, vaccine for young girls within the specified age bracket.
She called for adequate sensitization in every nook and cranny of FCT and indeed Nigeria to ensure that young girls get vaccinated against this deadly disease.
With the introduction of HPV vaccine into the country our next generation of our mothers would be free of cervical cancer, Bala emphasized.
The FCT State Immunization Officer, SIO, in a presentation said that cervical cancer which is caused by HPV is transmitted through sexual contact, adding that the virus takes a process of 20 to 30 years to appear in women.
He disclosed that if 80% of girls must be vaccinated in the FCT by 2024 .
He disclosed that the upcoming HPV vaccination campaign is a comprehensive approach to prevent cervical cancer in the FCT.
Cervical cancer kills girls yearly, and one HPV vaccine shot will prevent girls from getting the disease.