Nasarawa State Government has launched the Human Papilloma virus (HPV) Vaccine into the Extended Programme on Immunization (EPI) targeting girls between 9-14 years of age in the state.
Speaking at the launch of the programme at Government Science Secondary School, Lafia, penultimate week, Governor Sule urged parents and guardians to avail their daughters between 9 and 14 years the opportunity to be vaccinated so as to prevent them from contracting cervical cancer.
Represented by the State deputy governor, Dr. Emmanuel Akabe, the governor said his administration was committed to providing quality health care delivery to the citizens of the state.
Sule used the event to reassure Nigerians particularly residents of the state that the vaccine is safe, free and available in all medical facilities across the state to be administered to citizens, even as he commended the State Primary Healthcare Development Agency and the development partners for embarking on exercise.
He said ” It is a demonstration of our continued partnership and indeed, collective efforts in our quest to protect our young girls against the prevalence of cervical cancer disease, As you’re all aware, is a serious, potentially fatal disease that affects 1000s of lives every year, especially females of productive age”.
“However, it’s important to note that Cervical cancer is a preventable disease, which can be controlled through routine human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine”.
“It is for this reason that 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,”.
In his opening remark, the state commissioner for Health, Dr. Gaza Gwamna described cervical cancer as one of the most common form of cancer that affects women, stressing that the disease must be tackled heading.
He said “Cervical cancer globally accounts for a huge number of deaths and is the fourth among the cancers that kill women in the world”.
“Back at home Nigeria is the second to breast cancer, most of the women that came down with cervical cancer are been associated with HPV, at times goes on there is now something that can slow down the virus, which can stop the infection of HPV”.
“What we are doing here today is cost-effective, preventive, 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,” said the commissioner.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary, of Nasarawa State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NSPHDA) Dr. Muhammed Usman Adis, 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.
He further said that the vaccine has a 90 percent guarantee of protecting girls from cervical cancer.
In their goodwill messages, the representatives of World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, National Orientation Agency, chairman ALGON and Emir of Lafia pledged their continued support to the expanded immunization programme for the overall wellbeing of young girls and women in the state.
Ari, Liman Aminu.
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Federal Information Centre, Lafia.