MUTARE: Close to one million girls aged between the age of 10-14 years across the country are set to benefit from the National Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination programme being rolled out by ministry of Health in conjunction with Primary and Secondary Education department.
The programme was officially launched at Chancellor primary school by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa in the eastern border city on Wednesday.
Speaking at the launch, Mnangagwa said the programme would reduce cervical cancer cases in the country.
To kick start the programme, 10 girls aged between10-14 were immunized on the event.
“If this vaccination exercise is implemented successfully, about 1 million girls are going to benefit and it is our duty as parents and guardians to fully support such programs to ensure that our children are protected,” she said.
She added that she was excited that the ministry of education and the ministry of health have combined their efforts to protect the girls against infection.
“We should work together to ensure these statics of infection are reversed,” said Mnangagwa.
The HPV vaccine pilot project was launched in September2014 in Beitbridge and Marondera where about 9 000 adolescents’ girls aged 9-14 years received the new anti-cancer vaccine.
Cervical cancer is responsible for the second highest cancer related deaths amongst women and if left unaddressed, has the potential to turn into a pandemic.
The incidences of cervical cancer amongst Zimbabwean women are alarmingly high, reports suggest that there is an estimated 34.5 incidences per 100 000 women, a figure which slightly doubles the global average which stands at 15.1.
The government, under the Ministry of Health and Child care, is exploring all viable options to ensure that the cervical cancer prevalence is reduced and is rolling out a number of programs as a means of alleviating a situation which has all the makings of a disaster.
Among other measures being taken is the rolling out of the National Vaccination of girls against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV).
Medical experts say the Human Papillomavirus is found in an uncircumcised male’s sexual organ and is located in the inner layer of the foreskin.
The HPV virus is transmitted when an uncircumcised male and female engage in unprotected sexual intercourse.