Kenya: Good News as Government Rolls Out Cervical Cancer Vaccination

HPV vaccination (file photo).
16 October 2019

The Ministry of Health will on Friday roll out the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) virus vaccine against cervical cancer in Mombasa county.

Speaking during a media briefing Wednesday, ahead of the launch in Mombasa, the Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki said cervical cancer - one of the leading causes of death among women - is preventable through vaccination.

"Cancer of the Cervix, is the leading cause of cancer related deaths among women in Kenya. Nine women die from cervical Cancer in Kenya alone, every day. This is one too many! Cervical Cancer is now preventable through vaccination," Kariuki said.

The vaccine that targets approximately 800,000, 10-year-old girls will be administered in two doses six months apart free of charge across the country.

According to Benda Kithaka, a civil society representative working with communities to eliminate cancer, the vaccine is safe and aims at protecting adolescent girls against cervical cancer infection.

SAFE VACCINE

"HPV vaccine is safe and efficient and will be available to all 10-year-old girls. Let's not sit and watch, save our girls," said Kithaka.

The HPV vaccine pilot vaccination in Kenya was carried between 2013 and 2015 in Kitui covering 22,500 children of ages 9 to 11 resulting to 95 percent evidence based success.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a viral infection that's passed between people through skin-to-skin contact. There are more than 40 varieties of HPV which which are passed through sexual contact and can affect your genitals, mouth, or throat.

What does the HPV vaccine do?

Various strains of HPV spread through sexual contact and are associated with most cases of cervical cancer.

Gardasil 9 is an HPV vaccine approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and can be used for both girls and boys.

This vaccine can prevent most cases of cervical cancer if given before a girl or woman is exposed to the virus.

In addition, the vaccine can prevent vaginal and vulvar cancer in women, and can prevent genital warts and anal cancer in women and men.

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