Introduction to the National Immunization Programme in Abuja
Nigeria’s First Lady, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, has expressed concern over the high prevalence of cervical cancer in the country.
Mrs Tinubu, who spoke Tuesday at the national launch of the introduction of the HPV Vaccine into the routine immunization schedule of the National Immunization Programe at the State House, Abuja, stressed
that the initiative must not end with the introduction of the vaccine into the routine immunization schedule but there must be focus on education and awareness about the virus.
According to her, regular screenings must be encouraged and there must be improved access to healthcare with behavioral interventions as well.
She said: “For me, I will recommend that girls who are under 18 years of age and sexually active, avail themselves the opportunity of this vaccine, to avoid a future of ill-health and possibly, death.
“I want to emphasize that the introduction of HPV vaccine into our routine immunization schedule is a significant step forward in our mission to protect the health and future of our nations womenfolk and it will lead to a structured and systematic way of achieving a cervical cancer free generation.”
Mrs Tinubu noted that the initiative goes beyond preventing cervical cancer but also demonstrating the commitment of the administration of President Bola Tinubu’s administration to gender equity and empowering women to take control of their health.
The First Lady later flagged off the Papilloma Virus Vaccine for public use
Papillomavirus is said to be the most common viral infection of the reproductive tract and causes more than 95 percent of cases of cervical cancer. The vaccine is therefore designed for use by girls between ages 9-14 years, and it works by stimulating the body’s immune system to produce antibodies against the human Papillomavirus. When a person receives the vaccine, their immune system recognizes the viral proteins in the vaccine and produces a response that provides protection against HPV infections.
Earlier his remarks, Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof Mohammed Ali-Pate, said the Nigerian government is serious about the wellbeing of its citizens, just as he tasked parents to ensure that their daughters get vaccinated against cervical cancer.
He allayed people’s fears by assuring that the HPV vaccine is safe as it has been tested in other parts of the world with tremendous results.
Sultan of Sokoto, Abubakar Sa’ad III and the President, the Christian Association of Nigeria, Arch Bishop Daniel Okoh, in their separate submissions, pledged commitment to assist in the sensitisation towards the objective and need to embrace the vaccine by citizens.
They commended the authorities for introducing the vaccine, which, they said will save future generations of Nigerian girls and women.
Also speaking, Country Director of World Health Organization, Dr Walter Mulombo noted that cervical cancer is the most common form of cancer that affects women thus, must be tackled.
He commended the Nigerian authorities for launching the HPV vaccine.