Govt pushes teen girls HPV vaccine

HARARE - Government has called for  a community buy-in to the roll-out of the much-awaited human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine to curb the growing cervical cancer burden in Zimbabwe.

Official statistics show that cervical cancer constitutes 32 percent of all cancer cases.

Health and Child Care deputy minister Paul Chimedza told a press briefing to announce the HPV pilot vaccination programme, that the country cannot continue losing children to preventable diseases such as HPV.

“Cultural resistance to vaccination limits availability of data for analysis of vaccine safety profile and therefore capacity to appreciate the opportunity to invest in young women’s health,” Chimedza said.

“In this country, we have witnessed pockets of vaccine resistance from religious, cultural and elitist sectors and we have lost some children to vaccine preventable illness as a result. We therefore encourage all parents and fellow Zimbabweans to seek information from the correct sources so that together we act for the benefit of children.”

Historically, government and partners have failed to lure conservative apostolic churches from their doctrinal beliefs into immunising their children against child killer diseases.

Marondera and Beitbridge have been selected for the two-year preliminary roll-out starting on May 19.

The vaccination programme will run simultaneously in both districts, reaching out to 8 931 girls by 2015, preceding a national programme which commences in 2016 targeting girls aged between 9 to 13 years.

“The choice of districts was influenced by previous assessment of vaccination coverage… among other favourable criteria in the two districts, and therefore their readiness to add another vaccine and achieve the required coverage,” Chimedza said.

University of Zimbabwe professor Kusum Nathoo said the development will save future mothers from succumbing to the deadly condition.

“We have been talking about this vaccine for a long time and now it looks like something is definitely going to happen for our young adolescent,” Nathoo said.

“In future, our mothers and young women will be less likely to get this terrible disease.”

Thandiwe Musoko, infant education director in the ministry of Primary and Secondary Education,  said: “I have seen Prof (Mike) Chirenje explain situations people get into before they die.

“It made me rethink, if there is anything that can be done to alleviate a situation like this, let us all fight against the virus. I, therefore, pledge the ministry’s commitment to this programme.”

 

Comments (3)

A good article colleagues but we then go back to the issue of Comprehensive Sexuality Education following up the launch of the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Lifeskills,Sexuality HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan 2012-2015.Its high time for sexuality education to be in cooperated in school syllabi and young people especially girls to have access to Sexual Reproductive Health Services.

Tinashe Rufurwadzo - 16 April 2014

Good start there... now we are getting somewhere!

Jomo - 17 April 2014

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