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Niger to vaccinate 500,000 girls against virus



The Ministry of Primary Healthcare in Niger has inaugurated a campaign on inoculation of more than 500,000 girls against Human Papilloma Virus (HVP) — the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI).

The deputy governor of the state, Alhaji Yakubu Garba who inaugurated the campaign in Minna on Monday, said that the campaign would be in partnership with relevant agencies.

Garba, represented by Hamidu Jantabo, the Commissioner of Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, said that HPV vaccine would prevent cervical cancer.

“Let us raise awareness about the vaccines safety, efficacy, and long-term benefits, together, we can protect our loved ones and build a healthier future,” he said.

He said that the state government would ensure that every eligible individual received the vaccine regardless of their socio-economic status and called on parents, guardians and community leaders to support the initiative.

He said the HPV vaccine was safe, free and available to protect children against cancer of the womb and called on caregivers to avail their children in school and health facilities for vaccination.

Earlier in his address, Dr Ibrahim Dangana, Commissioner, Ministry of Primary Healthcare, said that the state alongside 21 other states was rolling out vaccine for the protection of children, especially the girl-child against cervical cancer.

Dangana, represented by Dr Turku Bello, Commissioner for Tertiary and Secondary Health, said that cervical cancer caused by HPV was second leading cancer responsible for death of women in the country.

He said that HPV was acquired through sexual contact, adding that there was need to vaccinates girls between the ages of nine years and 14 years against the virus.

“The girls will receive single dose of the vaccine which is effective in preventing infection with HPV Type 16 and Type 18 known to cause 70 per cent of cervical cancer.

“Cervical cancer is the second most frequent cause of deaths among women between 15 years and 44 years,” he said.

Dangana said that more than 500,000 girls would be vaccinated during the HPV campaign, adding that the campaign would begin from May 27 to May 31 in schools and communities.

He added that the vaccination would be rolled out across the 25 local government areas of the state and would be incorporated in routine immunisation schedules within health facilities.

He noted that more than 6,000 healthcare workers had been trained on the handling and administration of the vaccine across 274 wards in the state.

Rita Iliya

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