HPV Vaccination Drive to Combat Cervical Cancer Threat Launched in Oyo State

By Olaide Ajibola, JKNMedia Reporter

TAKING A significant step in the fight against cervical cancer, the Oyo State government has introduced the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine into its Extended Programme on Immunization (EPI).

Aimed at safeguarding the health of young girls aged 9 to 14 within the state, this initiative marks a crucial milestone in public health awareness and prevention efforts.

In a press conference held in Ibadan, Dr. Muideen Olatunji, the Executive Secretary of the Oyo State Primary Healthcare Board, emphasized the urgency of addressing cervical cancer, citing it as one of the most prevalent and lethal forms of cancer affecting women. The vaccination campaign, launched at St. Paul Anglican Primary School in Yanbule, Bashorun, underscores the government’s commitment to proactive healthcare measures.

Dr. Olatunji urged parents and guardians to ensure that their daughters avail themselves of the opportunity to receive the HPV vaccine, emphasizing the importance of prevention in averting the risks associated with cervical cancer. Additionally, he stressed the necessity for sexually active women to undergo regular cervical cancer screening to detect and manage any potential threats early.

Acknowledging the collaborative efforts of both federal and state governments, Dr. Olatunji expressed gratitude for the introduction of the HPV vaccine, which promises to safeguard the health of Nigerian girls and women against the ravages of cervical cancer. He reassured residents of the state regarding the safety and accessibility of the vaccine, affirming its availability across all healthcare facilities within five days of the launch.

With support from various development partners, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, the vaccination campaign targets over 639,000 young girls aged 9 to 14. Dr. Olatunji emphasized that the vaccine is not intended to reduce the population but rather to protect vulnerable individuals from the debilitating effects of cervical cancer.

Highlighting the significance of preventive measures, Dr. Olatunji emphasized the cost-effectiveness and safety of the HPV vaccine in mitigating the burden of cervical cancer. He reiterated the importance of prioritizing prevention over treatment, citing the vaccine’s 90 percent efficacy rate in protecting against the disease.

He also adds that the launch of the HPV vaccination drive in Oyo State represents a proactive response to the looming threat of cervical cancer among young girls, stressing that with a focus on prevention and collaboration with international partners, the government aims to ensure the long-term health and well-being of its citizens, particularly women and girls vulnerable to this deadly disease.

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