Govt to vaccinate girls against cervical cancer

HARARE - Government will this year roll out a cancer vaccination pilot project for girls over nine years of age.

Benard Madzima, director of reproductive and family health in the ministry of Health and Child Care, told a news conference in Harare yesterday that the project, which commences in April this year, will be rolled out  in Beitbridge and Seke districts first and then to the rest of the country afterwards.

Madzima said girls aged between nine and 13 years would receive the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine.
Cervical cancer, Madzima said, is caused by HPV and is also common among women on anti-retroviral treatment.

“As a ministry, we are cognisant of the dangers posed to society by the cancer scourge and we have come up with a national cancer strategy which entails early detection and prevention,” Madzima said.

“We are also doing visual inspection of the cervix at our central and provincial hospitals to check for any signs of the cancer on women.”

Madzima said his ministry had particularly targeted Beitbridge and Seke for the trial run project because of the communities’ overwhelming response to previous national immunisation programmes.

“Our assumption is that the 9-13 years age group has not yet been exposed to sexual relationships so this will help us in the aspect of early detection. We want to manage cervical cancer through behaviour change as well as preventive measures,” he said.

According to the National Cancer registry statistics, about 1 500 people die from cancer every year.
Anna-Mary Nyakabawo, a cancer specialist in the ministry of Health and Child Care, said 80 percent of cancer patients present late for treatment.

“Approximately, we receive 6 000 new cancers per year and the commonest among them is cancer of the cervix,” she said.

Global healthcare company — GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) last year made a commitment to supply its cervical cancer vaccines to the GAVI Alliance which sponsors government in combating the disease.

The GAVI Alliance has since channelled the vaccines to ministry of Health through the United Nations Children’s Fund.

Comments (3)

Please stop experimenting on our kids.Do your research elsewhere.

elisha - 30 January 2014

What is the baseline data for the Zimbabwean HPV genotypes? It is also questionnable whether the American/European HPV vaccine 16/18/6/11 can protect our local girls from cancer?? Think before you act!

Tsuro - 30 January 2014

My child is not a guinea pig, I will not allow her to be vaccinated. Last time we had children dying in some schools after they were immunised, this time no madisnyongoro..!

Ndlost & Found - 31 January 2014

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