HPV vaccine: UNICEF targets 400,000 girls in Bauchi state
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), says it has targeted 400,000 girls for vaccination against Human Papillomavirus (HPV) in Bauchi State. Dr Emmmanuel Emedo, UNICEF’s Health Specialist, Bauchi Field Offfice, said this in an interview with the Newsmen, in Bauchi on Monday.
HPV is a virus transmitted through skin-to-skin contact that could develop among sexually active persons. The virus is a primary cause of cervical cancer and other cancers, including cancer of the vulva, vagina, penis or anus.
Emedo said the exercise targeted girls between the age of nine and 14, adding that it would protect them against cervical cancer when they get to the reproductive age.
He said the HPV vaccine also protects young girls before exposure to the virus to reduce incidences of the devastating disease.
“We are monitoring the campaign across the 20 local government areas of Bauchi State. We have personnel from the state government, UNICEF, World Health Organisation and other partners in the field monitoring the exercise. The reports we are getting is that there is impressive turnout across the entire state and this has to do with the level of preparedness. We anticipated that we needed to prepare adequately by collaborating with all the relevant stakeholders like the parents, caregivers, the schools where we find the girls within the age group. We prepared them by informing them adequately about the vaccine. We have had about three weeks of preparation and we are not surprised that we are getting massive turnout,” he said.
The UNICEF official attributed the high level of acceptability of the vaccine to the diligence of an organisation, Mama2Mama support group, towards mobilisng participation in the exercise at the grassroots.
He said the group deployed 6,450 women across the 323 wards in the state, who engaged in mobilising girls for the exercise. He, therefore, urged parents and caregivers to allow their girls to get HPV vaccine to protect them against cancers.