119,796 girls in Mtwara to get HPV vaccine to combat cervical Cancer

MTWARA: SOME 119,796 girls aged 9-14 years in Mtwara region are set to be given Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines to protect them from HPV infections that can cause cervical cancer later in life.

The Vaccines will be provided through a national vaccination programme to be launched today countrywide.

Mtwara Regional Commissioner Colonel Patrick Sawala said the girls will be provided with a single dose of HPV through a five-day mass vaccination programme to run from today to 26th this month.

The programme seeks to increase uptake of the HPV vaccine, awareness about cervical cancer, and use of self-care practices. As recommended by the World Health Organization, the HPV vaccine is primarily meant for girls ages 9-14, before initiation of sexual activity.

The RC said the vaccinations will be provided in school and in communities to reach all the required girls in schools and those out of schools.

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In a speech read on his behalf by the Mtwara District Commissioner Mwanahamisi Munkunda, the RC urged regional leaders in collaboration with other health experts concerned to ensure all the eligible girls receive vaccinations as planned.

“I hereby direct regional leaders and partners to raise awareness of cervical cancer and vaccination against HPV, educating and directing parents on the importance of HPV towards addressing negative attitudes and gaps in knowledge among communities,” he said.

Cervical cancer remains one of the major causes of mortality worldwide. The 2019 Global Burden of Disease (GBD) shows that there were an estimated 570,000 new cases of cervical cancer, and 311,000 related deaths in 2018.

Another study has shown that among the global female population aged 15 years and above who face the risk of cervical cancer, 10.2 per cent reside in Sub-Saharan Africa

In Tanzania, it is 54 per 100,000 women. Extant evidence from Tanzania indicates that 9772 new cases and 6695 deaths are recorded each year. Hence, making cervical cancer an important public health concern in Tanzania.

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