CERVICAL CANCER: KWSG Collaborates HAPPI To Vaccinate 300,000 Female Teenagers in the State - KWPHCDA

The Kwara State Government, in partnership with the Health Accelerated Papilloma Prevention Initiative (HAPPI), has expressed readiness to vaccinate 300,000 girls from ages 9-14 years in the State with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Vaccine, to prevent the surge of cervical cancer.

The State Mobilization Officer, Kwara State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Dupe Shittu, disclosed this over the weekend during a state engagement meeting with Media Stakeholders at the E-Phoenix Hotel, GRA, Ilorin.

Dr. Shittu stated that "HPV, or Human Papilloma Virus is an endemic group of viruses that can infect the genital areas of both men and women, while many HPV infections can be treated naturally."

Dr. Shittu, emphasised that the HPV is a global and second most contagious virus as it is a second most common cancer in women globally, adding that 31,421, 000 deaths have been recorded annually, while Nigeria recorded 7, 968,000 death yearly.

"Cervical cancer affects women globally, and sadly, Nigeria is no exception. Our nation carries a heavy burden of cervical cancer cases, impacting the lives of our mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives. Nigeria has one of the highest rates of cervical cancer incidence in the world", Dr. Shittu said.

She emphasised the need for the masses, parents and all concerned stakeholders in the State to leverage on the HPV Vaccine exercise as it is a devastating disease, not only affects the physical health of women, but also takes a toll on families, communities, and our society as a whole.

 "The symptoms of HPV Virius include, pain, tenderness, fever, vomiting, swollen legs, benign amongst others, which is often delayed for about 10-20 years before it begins to manifest, taking the administration of the vaccine is advisable", Dr. Shittu added.

One of the representatives of the John Snow Initiative (JSI), Mr. Kannah Terri Ibrahim mentioned that the disease is common among the teens youth, and female adults which may not have immediate reaction until about ten to twenty years, noting that certain strain of the virus can lead to more serious health challenges.

According to him, Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine will protect girls between 9-14 years of age against contacting cervical cancer, saying that the administering of the vaccine will provide protection, prevention but not curative after the person must have contacted the disease.

The Human Papilloma Prevention Initiative is a proactive measure towards reducing the surge of Human Papilloma Virus, a primary causative agent of cervical cancer. 

The Initiative, according to one of the representative of John Snow Initiative, Mr. Baba Muhammed, has been launched in various States of the nation, and no fewer than 7 million girls have been vaccinated across schools and communities, adding that the exercise will be launched in Kwara State by 27th May, 2024.

Mr. Baba Muhammed further explained that the exercise will last for five days through public medical outreach engagement of the State Primary Health Care workers to people, while the routine administration of the vaccine will commence at the start of next year, January, 2025 across health care facilities in the State.

In her presentation: "the Role of Media and Expectations", a Media Expert, Dr. (Mrs.) Mary Olushola Okpodu, urged all media outlets and media personnel in the State to sensitise and inform the public on the numerous advantages the Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine will provide to the targeted beneficiaries and the State as a whole.

Meanwhile, Dr. Okpodu has also charged the media practitioners in the State to consolidate the effort in the exercise, using their professional expertise to dislodge envisaged rumour, misinformation, disinformation, fear often nursed by the members of the public towards embracing the vaccination to further prevent and eradicate the surge of cervical cancer.

The exercise was powered by the Kwara State Government through the Kwara State Primary Health Care Development Agency and Healthy Accelerated Papilloma Prevention Initiative (HAPPI), a consortium with John Snow Initiative (JSI) Group of Companies.

*Alabere Ahmed* 


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