In its effort to prevent the infection that causes cervical cancer among women, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Health, Dr. Tomi Coker, says the State government has concluded arrangements with relevant stakeholders, to commence Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination for girls of age nine to 14, by September this year, free of charge.
The vaccination would protect girls within the age range against cervical cancer infection, while its implementation would be in phases starting with 16 States of the federation, Ogun State, inclusive.
Dr. Coker said that the State government would soon include the vaccine in the Routine Immunisation (RI) schedule, noting that the State Primary Health Care Board (OGPHCB), was intensifying efforts on Advocacy, Communication, and Social Mobilisation (ACSM) activities.
She said, ‘’the HPV infection is the most common viral infection in the reproductive tract causing more than 95 percent of cases of cervical cancer which has been known as the fourth leading cancer in women globally and the second most common cancer affecting women in Nigeria’’.
The Governor’s aide appreciated the commitment of Development Partners on Health for their numerous support and reassured them of sustainable collaboration and consolidation on the strides already achieved in the delivery of healthcare services for the people of the State.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary, OGPHCB, Dr. Elijah Ogunsola, who emphasised the significance of advocacy in achieving the goal of the vaccination, said the Board had inaugurated the State Technical Working Group on HPV, and engaged with Religious, Traditional and Community leaders, among other stakeholders, urging the Civil Society Organisations to work hand in hand with the Health Educators across various Local Government Areas in the State for effective mobilization.
Dr. Ogunsola appreciated United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) for their support on the commencement of the Advocacy and Social Mobilisation (ACSM) activities on HPV.
In their goodwill messages, the representatives of the World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF, CHAI, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), and Director of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Dr. Olawatoyin Ojediran, Mrs. Aderonke Akinola, Mrs. Omotayo Giwa, Mr. Oluwatosin Ademola and Mr. Kolawole Obadina respectively, commended the State government for strengthening its health sector and harnessing the opportunity around it to improve the wellness of the citizenry. They affirmed that the vaccine is safe and effective, enjoining parents and guardians, as well as the people to make their girl-child available for the vaccination at the stipulated time.