The Garissa County Department of Health has started the campaign to promote Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Vaccine that prevents the infection of cervical cancer among women.
A stakeholders meeting that brought together religious and opinion leaders, as well as women and members of the civil society, is meant to gain support for the roll-out of the vaccine which is supposed to be administered to young girls of 10 years.
Addressing the press after the meeting, deputy director in charge of preventive and promotion services Ibrahim Gedi said the vaccine is currently available at private facilities at a fee.
Gedi said the same vaccine is now available in major government owned facilities for free.
“I want to appeal to area residents who want their daughters vaccinated to visit our public institutions where the jab is administered for free,” Gedi said.
The health official conceded that resistance against vaccines was mainly caused by myths that exist against immunization.
I want to urge our religious leaders to take a leading role in sensitizing the public on the comprehensive prevention of cervical cancer,” Gedi noted.
“We are here today with the religious, opinion, women and youth leaders whom we believe will pass the message to the population out there. This is an interactive session where we are giving them an opportunity to ask questions on some of the myth out there,” he added.
Gedi said for every 5 children, 2 are immunized a challenge that requires mobilizing the community to come out and have their children vaccinated.
He said the county has made tremendous steps in the promotion of immunization with 78 per cent of all children under 5 having received the polio jab.
“I believe with a sustained campaign together with the support of the county leadership, the same will be achieved in the cervical cancer immunization program.
According to Gedi, the vaccine is safe and has been tested by Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) who gave it a node.