The ongoing Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination campaign in Kasama, Northern Province, has encountered resistance from some parents.
Amidst the vaccination efforts, some parents like Mary Mutale have voiced their concerns about vaccinating children in schools without parental consent. Ms. Mutale emphasized that children have rights that should be protected, and decisions regarding their health should be made by parents or guardians.
“As parents, we are disheartened that schools and health officials are not obtaining parents’ consent,” she expressed.
Ms. Mutale also highlighted her lack of information about the vaccination, underscoring the need for parents to be well-informed about the vaccines being administered to their children.
“As a parent, I am worried because I am ignorant about what the vaccination is about,” she admitted, expressing further concern for those in remote areas who might also lack information.
In light of these concerns, Ms. Mutale called on the Ministry of Health to invest in stakeholder sensitization efforts to ensure that people have access to accurate and factual information about the vaccinations.
Dr. Ernest Mutale, the Northern Provincial Health Director, expressed worries about the reluctance of certain parents to allow their children to be vaccinated against HPV.
According to Dr. Mutale, the health officers conducting the campaign have faced challenges in persuading parents, particularly those with children in boarding schools, to consent to the vaccination. He emphasized the safety of the HPV vaccine, highlighting its crucial role in protecting young girls from HPV, which can lead to cervical cancer.
“The biggest challenge we are facing is that parents with children in boarding schools are refusing to have their children vaccinated,” Dr. Mutale stated.
He urged parents to take advantage of the vaccination campaign, which runs from September 25th to September 30th, 2023. The campaign specifically targets children aged 9 to 14. Dr. Mutale explained that vaccinations are administered in schools because it is more convenient when the target population is gathered in one place.