17,480 girls have been targeted to be vaccinated against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) in a vaccination exercise which starts on September 25 in Mkushi district.
District Administrative Officer, Lucy Chilanga, emphasized the need to create awareness on the exercise in order to increase vaccine uptake.This came to light during the HPV campaign advocacy meeting held at Mkushi District Health Office.She called upon stakeholders to encourage eligible girls to get vaccinated against HPV by addressing misconceptions about the vaccines.
Ms. Chilanga noted that vaccination is important as it helps prevent HPV infection and subsequent diseases like cervical cancer.
“Let’s ensure correct information is given as we create awareness on the program for the good of our girl child,” she said.
Mkushi District Maternal Neonatal and Child Health Coordinator, Cleopatra Kangwa added that the vaccine has been proved to be safe and effective in preventing HPV infections, and hence reduces the incidence of cervical cancer and other anogenital cancers.
She, however, noted that the HPV vaccine does not prevent pregnancies or protect against HIV.
She explained that the World Health Organization (WHO) prequalified the use of the HPV vaccine among adolescent girls since it is more efficacious if administered before sexual debut, and prior exposure to the virus.
“The key is to vaccinate girls before they are sexually active, because HPV is sexually transmitted,” she said.
The HPV vaccination campaign will prioritize coverage in the primary target population of girls within the age range of 9 to 14 years.The campaign is expected to be conducted from 25th September to 30th September, 2023.