Oyo Govt. Flags off Free HPV Vaccine, Targets 7.71% of Population

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Dr. Olatunji (with mic), speaking during the Press conference today
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The Oyo State Government has launched the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine into the Extended Programme on Immunization (EPI), targeting girls between 9-14 years of age in the state.

Speaking during a press conference in Ibadan, the Executive Secretary, Oyo State Primary Healthcare Board, Dr. Muideen Olatunji said the Board targets 7.71% of the population.

Dr. Olatunji described cervical cancer as one of the most common forms of cancer that affects women, stressing that the disease must be tackled head-long.

The Executive Secretary said the government has launched the programme at St. Paul Anglican Primary School, Yanbule, Bashorun, where over 300 pupils were vaccinated.

He urged parents and guardians to avail their daughters between 9 and 14 years old the opportunity to be vaccinated so as to prevent them from contracting cervical cancer.

Dr. Olatunji encouraged every woman who is sexually exposed to ensure they undergo regular cervical cancer screening (pap smear) to prevent the disease.

Olatunji, said the present administration in Oyo State was committed to providing quality health care delivery to the citizens of the state.

He lauded the federal government and state government for introducing the HPV vaccine, saying the vaccine would save future generations of Nigerian girls and women from the danger of the disease.

The ES reassured state residents that the vaccine is safe, free, and will be available in all healthcare facilities across the state after five days.

Appreciating the development partners for embarking on the exercise with the government, Dr. Olatunji said the campaign targets 639, 049 young girls between the age of 9-14 years.

He said, ”It is pertinent to reiterate that the vaccine is not designed to reduce the state’s population. This is a demonstration of our continued partnership and, indeed, collective efforts to protect young girls and citizens of the state against the prevalence of cervical cancer disease.”

He continued, “Cervical cancer is a serious and second most fatal cancer that affects women, especially females of productive age”.

He added, “However, it’s important to note that Cervical cancer is a preventable disease, which can be controlled through routine human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine”.

“We have trained and retrained those that will administer this vaccine, and there are supervisors who will regularly take measures of safety. There are measures put in place to check the administration of these vaccines. We have a structure in place to reach every part of Oyo State. We want to make sure no one is left out in this vaccination, and for this reason, we must utilize the opportunity as critical stakeholders to significantly reduce the prevalence of this disease to protect the lives of our citizens, particularly young girls between the ages of 9 and 14”, he added.

He stressed that “Cervical cancer globally accounts for a huge number of deaths and is the fourth among the cancers that kill women in the world”.

“HPV, which causes cervical cancer, is preventable, so what we are doing is cost-effective and safe so that we don’t have to wait for treatment or management when cancer has set it.

“Prevention is better than treatment and cure,” he said.

Speaking of modalities, Dr. Olatunji said one dose of the vaccine will be administered on the left upper arm of recipients, adding that no serious reaction will follow this.

He further said that the vaccine has a 90 per cent guarantee of protecting girls from cervical cancer.

In their goodwill messages, the representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and other development partners pledged their continued support to the immunization programme for the overall wellbeing of young girls and women in the state.

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