Kenya to roll out HPV vaccine this Friday

Written By: Margaret Kalekye/Purity Museo
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All girls aged 10 years must receive 2 doses of the vaccine, 6 months apart.
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The Ministry of Health will this Friday roll out the Human Papillomavirus (HPV)virus vaccine against cervical cancer.

The Vaccine will be incorporated into the routine immunization schedule for children becoming 16th African country and 115th nation globally to do so.

The immunization will be given to girls aged 10 and above to protect them from HPV infection, a primary cause of cervical cancer.

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.

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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.

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Speaking during a media briefing Wednesday, ahead of the launch in Mombasa, Health CS Sicily Kariuki, allayed parents and stakeholders concerns over the safety of the vaccine saying it has no side effects.

She disclosed that cervical cancer is one of the leading causes of death among women and 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,” CS Sicily Karuiki said.

Kariuki said her Ministry was working closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other agencies in the roll-out of the nationwide HPV vaccine initiative.

In Kenya, cancer is the 3rd leading cause of death after infectious and cardiovascular diseases. In 2018 alone, 49,000 new cancer cases were diagnosed and 33,000 deaths documented.

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The World Health Organization approved the immunization’s safety saying the countries that have already implemented it have not recorded any harmful side effects.

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Australia the first country to introduce the vaccine into the routine immunization program could soon be declared a cervical cancer free.

The vaccine which will be offered nationwide alongside other routine infant vaccines through an existing network of over 9,000 Public and Private health facilities is targeting girls from age 10 years old and subsequently to all girls as they turn 10 years in the future.

What is HPV?

HPV stands for human papillomavirus.

Depending on the strain, HPV is an infection that causes warts in various parts of the body. The virus is usually harmless and goes away by itself, but some types can lead to cancer or genital warts.

 

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