Cervical Cancer Is A Needless Ailment If Women Can Have This Understanding

The Executive Director of Cancer Aware Foundation, Ms. Tolulope Falowo, has called on the Federal Government to introduce human papillomavirus vaccines into the country’s routine immunization program.

Falowo in a statement to mark International HPV Awareness Day celebrated every March 4, said the introduction of the HPV vaccines would help to curb the prevalence of cervical cancer in Nigeria.

“Cervical cancer is cancer that should not happen at all, because it is preventable through vaccination and screening, yet it is the second most common cancer among women in Nigeria. We believe that prioritising this vaccine means we value the lives of our girls and women.

We are calling on the Federal Government to introduce the human papillomavirus vaccine into the country’s routine immunisation programme so that eligible girls can have access to it.

At least 16 other African countries have introduced the HPV vaccine into their routine immunisation programme.

Nigeria cannot be the exception especially because we have a huge burden of cervical cancer,”

Falowo said.

She lamented that the HPV vaccine was only available at a few private and public health institutions in the county at a cost between N12000 and N15000 per dose.

READ ALSO: Survey Finds Alarming Number Of Nigerian Women Of Child-Bearing Age Are Ignorant Of Cervical Cancer Screening & Its Huge Benefits

Falowo said HPV was responsible for 48.4 per cent of cancer cases caused by infections in Africa in 2018 according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

She said,

“HPV is a very common virus. There are over 200 types of HPV. They are categorised into low-risk and high-risk HPV.

Some of the high-risk HPV can cause several types of cancers including cervical cancer and cancers of the penis, anus, vagina, vulva and throat.

Around eight out of 10 people, male and female will be infected with the HPV virus at some point in their lives, however, most people will clear the infection without even knowing they had it.

Although the World Health Organisation recommends that countries should include routine HPV vaccination in their national immunisation programmes, Nigeria presently has no national HPV immunisation programme.

The Federal Ministry of Health’s National Strategic Plan for the Prevention and Control of Cancer of the Cervix in Nigeria (2017 -2021) proposed that in Nigeria, girls between the age of nine and 13 should receive the HPV vaccine. This is yet to be implemented to date.”

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