REPUBLIC OF KENYA

HPV vaccine is safe CS health assures public

Nairobi (KENYA) September 5, 2019 – Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki has assured Kenyans that the proposed HPV vaccine is safe and aims at protecting adolescent  girls against cervical cancer infection.

The new vaccine will be introduced soon in the country’s routine immunization schedule by the Ministry of Health.

Speaking during a press conference held in Nairobi, during the 8th  East Africa Healthcare Federation Conference Mrs. Kariuki said her Ministry was working closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other agencies in the roll-out of the nationwide HPV vaccine initiative.

“The HPV vaccine is not new and has undergone the requisite research by the WHO and I would therefore like to appeal to sections of Kenyans to stop sensationalizing this important issue.

“No Government, anywhere in the world,  would jeopardize the health of its citizenry by introducing a countrywide initiative which has not undergone the necessary research and peer review,” she observed.

Speaking during a recent media briefing held in Nairobi,  Dr. Rose Jalang’o of the National Vaccines and Immunization Programme, said the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination will target adolescent  girls aged 14 years this year.

“In 2020, the Health Ministry plans to  conduct a catch-up vaccination campaign targeting girls 10 to 14 years, and thereafter continue vaccination routinely targeting those aged 10 years.

“Since HPV vaccines are prophylactic, the largest impact of vaccination on incidence of cervical cancer is expected to result from high coverage of young adolescent girls before first sexual contact,” Dr. Jalang’o noted.

According to experts, in Kenya, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women aged 15 years to 44 years.

It is estimated that every year, 5,250 women in the country are diagnosed with the disease, and about 3,286 cervical cancer deaths occur annually. At the same time, 10.3 million women aged 15 years and above are at risk of developing the disease.

Dr Jalang’o observed that “Unless concerted efforts are put in place to prevent and control the disease, it is projected that the incidence of cervical cancer will rise to 7,057 cases per year with 4,869 (69 per cent) annual deaths by 2025.”

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