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Govt adoptes new cervical cancer vaccine (HPV)

by Staff Reporter
22 Apr 2013 at 06:00hrs | Views
THE Government has adopted a new cervical cancer vaccine called the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) that is expected to reduce the number of women who succumb to the disease.

The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare is already in the process of developing a policy on how the new vaccine would be administered as well as the relevant registration.

In an interview yesterday Dr Portia Manangazira, director for epidemiology and disease control in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, said the vaccination programme, which is targeting young adolescent girls would start early next year.

"Next year we want to ensure that all girls between nine to 12 years are vaccinated. We want to also capture the four percent that is not enrolled in schools. The vaccine should be given before the first sexual contact, especially to adolescent girls.

"We want to ensure that every girl is vaccinated the same way that every child is supposed to be immunised. The vaccinations will also cover even those females already sexually active," said Dr Manangazira.

She said the Government plans to vaccinate women free of charge at all public health institutions.

"We are planning to avail the vaccinations free of charge to women and girls to ensure universal access in all parts of the country.

"Massive health education campaigns are also going to be carried out around the country to familiarise people with the vaccine, which has since been scientifically proven to reduce chances of contracting the disease," said Dr Manangazira.

The vaccine has been introduced in many countries around the world including South Africa.

Cervical cancer occurs when abnormal cells on the
cervix grow out of control.

It is the most common type of cancer among women the world over and the HPV virus has been found to be a leading cause of cervical cancer in Zimbabwe.

At the moment the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare is relying on screening, which allows early detection of pre-cancerous cells at early stages.

This method has however proved to be ineffective as some women are getting diagnosed late when the cancer would have progressed.

Symptoms of cervical cancer include discharge, with traces of blood, pain during sexual intercourse, bleeding when cervix comes in contact with anything such as when putting on diaphragm, abnormal bleeding or a sudden change in one's menstrual cycle that is unexplainable.

Source - Zimpapers
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