In a groundbreaking move aimed at safeguarding the health of young girls, the Ogun State Government, in partnership with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency and various development partners, has initiated a crucial vaccination program.
This campaign, which targets eligible girls aged 9 to 14, aims to protect them against Cervical Cancer by introducing the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine into the routine immunization schedule.
During the flag-off ceremony, Dr. Tomi Coker, the Commissioner for Health, delivered an impassioned keynote address, hailing the introduction of the HPV vaccine as a pivotal milestone in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
She emphasized the global significance of the campaign, highlighting that cervical cancer ranks as the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide.
A high burden of the disease is attributed to various factors, including limited access to vaccination services, inadequate screening and treatment options, low awareness, and healthcare disparities, especially in rural areas.
Coker urged parents to embrace the program, emphasizing its potential to reduce cervical abnormalities in vaccinated women by up to 90%.
She noted that the vaccine has been scientifically proven to be safe and effective in preventing HPV infection and the risk of cervical cancer, with certification from the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
Hon. Olusegun Ogunleye, Chairman of Ikenne Local Government, echoed the call to action for parents, citing the alarming rate of cervical cancer due to low awareness and limited vaccination access.
Dr. Elijah Ogunsola, the Executive Secretary of the Primary Health Care Development Board, expressed gratitude to Governor Prince Dapo Abiodun for transforming the HPV vaccination program from a vision into a reality.
Ogun State is one of the 16 states participating in the pilot phase of this vital initiative.
Furthermore, Dr. Olubunmi Fatungase, Chief Medical Director of Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, and Dr. Dedeke, President of the Medical Women Association of Nigeria, Ogun State, reassured parents that the vaccine would not impact the future fertility of the vaccinated girls, dispelling any unfounded concerns.
Religious and community leaders, civil society members, and healthcare stakeholders commended the Ogun State government for making the vaccine accessible to their communities, acknowledging the significant impact it will have on the health and wellbeing of young girls.
The highlight of the ceremony was the symbolic vaccination of students from various schools in Ikenne Local Government, symbolizing the launch of a critical health intervention for the state’s young girls.
The event also witnessed the presence of esteemed stakeholders, including representatives from the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), and religious leaders, who all voiced their support for this monumental initiative.
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