By Amina Abdullahi Girbo
The Deputy Programme Manager National Emergency Routine Immunization Coordination Centre of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency Dr Garba Ahmed Rufa’i, stated this in a remark on behalf of his Director during a one Day Media Orientation for Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine Introduction in Nigeria, organized by the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, held in Abuja.
He said this is the first time the vaccine is made available and free for Nigerians by the government with a view to dealing with the Virus.
Dr Ahmad Rufa’i, expressed concern that the cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women in Nigeria, where over Twelve Thousand cases were being diagnosed in the nation annually and Nigeria loses over Eight Thousand Women every year due to the disease.
The Deputy Programme Manager also said the vaccine has been in existence for many years in Nigeria, but the cheapest amount to purchase one dose of HPV vaccine is around Twenty Five Thousand Naira, a situation which neccesitated the federal government to introduce the vaccine in it’s Vaccine schedule.
Dr Garba Rufa’i, said the target age to have the vaccine is girl of Nine to Fourteen years old before reaching sexual activities stage.
He emphasized that the disease is not curable but can only be managed, hence the need to prevent it through the HPV vaccine.
In a goodwill message on behalf of All partners in the health sector, Mrs Margaret Adaba Soyemi, Social and Behavior Change Officer of the United Nations Children Education Fund, UNICEF who said the Journalists have a very important role to play in the public Health Care system, urged them to dessiminate accurate and verified information to the public concerning the Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine Introduction in Nigeria which comes up on 25th September, 2023 across Fifteen States and the Federal Capital Territory.
Mrs Margaret said the best way to save Women from cervical cancer is through Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine, hence the need for the media to clear any negative information and rumour regarding the vaccine with the neccessary information from credible and reliable source.
In her presentation on HPV vaccine Introduction in Nigeria, Mrs Elizabeth Hassan highlighted that the vaccine is Safe and effective with long term follow up studies, adding that countries that have since introduced the Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine, have recorded Eighty percent reduction.
Mrs Elizabeth, said due to a global shortage, the HPV vaccine Introduction will be phased to ensure equitable access based on disease burden and cold chain capacity starting with Sixteen 16 States in Nigeria by September 25th, 2023 in order to reach out girls between Nine to Fourteen years in various Schools and Community outreach.
While presenting the importance of delivering correct information about HPV vaccine Mr George Aki from UNICEF said it will increase confidence on the vaccine to enable the public understand the benefits of the vaccine.
In an interview after the Media dialogue on HPV vaccine, Alhaji Muhammad Ribado, Bauchi State Health Education Officer called on Nigerians to shun any myth and misconception on HPV vaccine and give maximum cooperation to vaccinate their Girl child of the target age against cervical cancer, because the vaccine is now available and free.
According to National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Nigeria received over Six Million doses of the HPV vaccine and Bauchi State received Four Hundred and Fourty Thousand and Two Hundred and Seventy one doses for the introduction of the vaccine on September Twenty Twenty Three. states to commence the vaccination exercise include Abia, Bauchi, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Benue, Enugu, Jigawa, Taraba.
Others are Kano, Kebbi, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ogun, Osun and the Federal Capital Territory.