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NPHCDA engages stakeholders ahead of September launch of cancer vaccine

The Nasarawa Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) has engaged stakeholders from across the state as part of preparations to introduce the Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (HPV), into its routine immunization schedule, aimed at protecting young girls against cervical cancer and other HPV-related disease.

The engagement with stakeholders took place at the headquarters of the NPHCDA, in Lafia, on Thursday.

Mallam Mohammed Abubakar Ibrahim, Director, Health Education and Social Mobilization at the agency, said the interaction with stakeholders was for the purpose of carrying community leaders along who would convey the message to their various communities towards ensuring the success of the campaign.

According to Ibrahim, community leaders from across the state, are expected to step down the message in their various communities, enlightening the public about the introduction of the new vaccine to protect girls age from 9 to 14 against cervical cancer.

He explained that the vaccine had passed clinical examinations and approved by all the relevant agencies at the international and national levels and is therefore safe for use.

Ibrahim particularly harped on the need to sensitize the public towards discarding aspects of their culture that inhibits sound health habits.

In his presentation during the event, Programme Manager, State Emergency Routine Immunisation Coordination Centre, Mr. Ismaila Oko, said Nasarawa State is among the 16 states in the country selected for the first phase of the implementation of the vaccine.

The programme manager disclosed that the HPV vaccine had already been procured and is currently being stored for onward distribution across the state.
Oko pointed out that cervical and breast cancers account for about 50 per cent of all cancer-related mortality.

“Based on National Demographic Health Survey conducted in 2018, cervical and breast cancer account for about 50 per cent of cancer related mortality.

“And the survey also revealed that out of 10 women diagnosed with cancer, only two are likely to survive at the end of the day,” he added.

He used the opportunity to appreciate President Bola Tinubu, Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule and Dr. Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, for their roles towards ensuring the availability of the vaccine in the state.

Oko emphasized that, currently, Nasarawa State is the best in immunization coverage in the country and as such every step must be taken to ensure the success of the HPV vaccine immunization.

It would be recalled that, Nigeria and other member states of the World Health Organization (WHO) endorsed the global strategy toward the elimination of cervical cancer at the World Health Assembly in 2020, with the Federal Government committed to ensuring the health and safety of all individuals, especially in the aspect of preventive care.

Also, in recognition of the increasing rate of cervical cancer which is the second most frequent cancer among women between 15 and 44 years of age caused by Human Papillomavirus (HPV), the Federal Ministry of Health through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), with the support of the development partners, is introducing the HPV vaccine into the routine immunization schedule to protect young girls against cervical cancer and other HPV-related disease in the future.

Nasarawa State is among the sixteen (16) prioritized states for the first phase of the vaccine introduction in September 2023.

Stakeholders in attendance during the interaction include representatives of traditional rulers, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Jamaatul Nasril Islam (JNI), LGA coordinators of National Orientation Agency, Heads of Primary Healthcare Centres from the LGAs and the media, amongst others.



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