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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Seven million Nigerian girls vaccinated against HPV in two weeks – Official

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GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, says that seven million girls nationwide have been vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) in the second phase of inoculation.

The girls’ vaccination, according to GAVI, took place within two weeks and is a crucial step in protecting them from the risk of cervical cancer.

This is stated in a statement issued by the organization on Wednesday.

The HPV vaccine is designed to prevent infections with certain types of human papillomavirus associated with the development of cervical cancer, genital warts, and other cancers.

There are three main types of HPV vaccines available: Gardasil, Gardasil 9, and Cervarix. These vaccines are most effective when given before a person becomes sexually active, and are generally recommended for boys and girls ages 11 or 12 and older.

However, they can be administered from ages nine to 45 years.

According to GAVI, the progress made so far in vaccinating seven million Nigerian girls marks an important milestone in the country’s fight against cervical cancer.

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In this regard, Sani Nishtar, CEO of the international public-private health partnership, said: “This achievement is a testament to the tremendous collaboration between Gavi, the Nigerian government and our partners.”

She stated that by prioritizing girls’ health, “we are empowering a generation and helping to save countless lives.”

First phase

In October 2023, the Nigerian government began the first phase of the HPV vaccine in the routine immunization system targeting more than seven million girls between the ages of nine and 14.

Coordinating Minister for Health and Social Welfare Professor Muhammad Pate said around 4.95 million girls aged nine to 14 years were vaccinated against HPV in the first phase of vaccination.

The phase was launched through a partnership between the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund and the GAVI.

It covered 16 states including Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Enugu, Jigawa, Kano, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ogun, Osun, Taraba and the Federal Capital Territory.

Building on this success, Gavi further expanded its collaboration with Girl Effect on May 27 to focus on reaching girls with critical information and ensuring access to vaccines.

The second phase, which according to GAVI has vaccinated seven million girls, focused mainly on children in Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara and Niger. , Ondo, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara.

Cervical cancer in Nigeria

In Nigeria, cervical cancer is the second most prevalent type of cancer and the third most common among women aged 15 to 44 years. It claims thousands of lives every year.

The HPV vaccine offers a highly effective prevention tool, with an average success rate of 92 percent according to GAVI.

In 2020, the last year for which data is available, the country recorded 12,000 new cases and 8,000 deaths from cervical cancer.

HPV is a common sexually transmitted infection that triggers several types of cancer, including cervical cancer.

“By vaccinating seven million girls in just two weeks, Nigeria has made significant progress toward its goal of reaching 16 million girls by 2025,” GAVI noted.

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