FG secures over 6m doses of cervical cancer vaccine

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The Federal Government, yesterday, confirmed securing over six million doses of Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to roll out the first phase of vaccination, targeting over six million girls nationwide.

The national launch, which begins October 24, is for girls aged nine to 14.
Besides, the government has concluded plans to integrate the HPV vaccine into routine immunisation by 2025, focusing on girls aged nine.

Meanwhile the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has said the HPV vaccine, known as Gardasil, had been granted approval after being certified to be safe and effective for preventing the infection and reducing the risk of cervical cancer.

Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr, Faisal Shuaib, who disclosed this at a joint press briefing with NAFDAC yesterday in Abuja, noted that cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among Nigerian women, and second most common cause of cancer-related fatalities among women aged 15 to 49 years.

He stated that the country alone contributes an estimated 12,075 new cases of global cervical cancer yearly, adding that with 12,000 new diagnoses and 8,000 deaths every year, “it translates to 33 new cervical cancer cases and 22 deaths every day in our nation.”

Shuaib said introduction of the HPV vaccine would be in two phases, stressing that the first phase would cover 16 states, including Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Enugu and Jigawa.

The others are Kano, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ogun, Osun, Taraba and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), while the second phase holds in the first quarter of 2024 and would capture the remaining states: Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Kaduna and Katsina.

The rest are Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Niger, Ondo, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara.

He observed that in each phase, NPHCDA would initiate a five-day campaign covering schools, communities, market places, government-owned health facilities and other public places to address girls aged nine to 14 and subsequently,  continue routine vaccination within health facilities for the same age group.

“By 2025, we anticipate transitioning to full routine immunisation with the HPV vaccine,” the NPHCDA helmsman added.

Also speaking, NAFDAC Director General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, asserted that the vaccine had been certified by her organisation.

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