The Federal Government of Nigeria has announced September 25, 2023, as the day it plans to implement the Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (HPV) as a preventive measure against cervical cancer in females.
The decision was unveiled during the bi-annual review meeting of religious leaders on Primary Healthcare delivery held in Abuja.
They highlighted that administering the HPV vaccine to girls aged nine to fifteen would effectively shield them from the risk of developing cervical cancer.
During the review meeting, Dr Emmanuel Odu, Senior Special Adviser to the Minister representing the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr Muhammad Pate, emphasized the importance of combining spiritual insights with scientific knowledge and expertise to effectively tackle health issues.
Also, In his remarks, the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, urged religious leaders to help raise awareness in their congregations about the free HPV vaccination, dispel myths and misconceptions about the vaccine, and encourage their members to embrace better health-seeking behaviours.
ABOUT CERVICAL CANCER
Cervical cancer emerges from abnormal cell growth in the cervix. Most cases are linked to specific strains of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection.
By targeting these strains, the HPV vaccine shows the potential to prevent over 90% of cancers caused by HPV.
The World Health Organization has identified HPV types 16 and 18 as prominent in Nigeria, contributing to nearly half of severe cervical pre-cancers. Tragically, in Nigeria, around 14,000 women receive a cervical cancer diagnosis each year, with 7,968 losing their lives to the disease annually.