HPV vaccination highly accepted in Zanzibar

ZANZIBAR: HEALTH officers here have said that the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination campaign to protect girls against the cervical cancer, has been highly accepted among the Zanzibar population after immunising 100 per cent of the targeted population.

“We are happy with the result of the first round of the immunisation campaign in June this year, as we managed to vaccinate all 23,000 girls targeted aged between nine and 14,” said Dr Salim Slim- Director, Department of Preventive Services and Health Education under the Zanzibar Ministry of Health.

He revealed the good news to journalists at his office, Mnazi Mmoja when announcing the roll-out of the second dose vaccination campaign (conducted on December 1-2, 2023) to protect girls from being infected with Human Papillomavirus (HPV type).

Dr Slim attributed high acceptance of the vaccination among Zanzibaris to increased public awareness.

He said HPV vaccine is most effective when given to young girls who have not yet engaged in sexual activities as it works only as prevention rather than a cure.

The director explained that the campaign which is conducted biannually is targeting all girls of that age in all more than five hundred schools in Unguja and Pemba Islands.

The bi-annual campaign is part of the Momentum Country Global Leadership Programme (MCGL) supervised by Jhpiego and supported by USAID.

“In sustaining the success, the Health Ministry is encouraging all parents, guardians and other stakeholders to allow their children to be immunised. The jab is safe after it was approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO),” he said.

He said the campaign is ongoing, as Mr Yussuf Omar – a parent, expressed his worries over the safety of vaccines, “But it is good that the government has been educating the public about the safety and importance of HPV vaccine to our children.”

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