Kenya set to roll out cervical cancer vaccination in November

Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-02 20:46:47|Editor: ZX
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NAIROBI, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's health ministry said Wednesday it will roll out cervical cancer vaccination in November.

Collins Tabu, head of the National Vaccines and Immunization Program said the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be offered free to all nine years old girls through routine immunization services.

"The vaccine that will complement the existing interventions has the potential of reducing infections by 70 percent," Tabu told journalists in Nairobi.

Tabu said that the vaccination is an important event in Kenya's health calendar as it will help save the lives of many women who die from cervical cancer on a daily basis.

The official noted that the plan to roll out the vaccination started in 2011 and proceeded to conduct pilot demonstrations in Kitui, eastern Kenya that targeted girls of ages nine to 14.

"We vaccinated 22,500 girls in 2013-2015 and realized 95 percent success without any side effects," he disclosed. He noted that the government in 2015 started planning for the rolling out of the program to help save lives.

The health official noted that Kenya is late in rolling out this vaccination considering that it is the last country to launch it after other East African countries and in total 115 countries globally.

Mary Nyangasi, head of the National Cancer Control Program at the health ministry said that cervical cancer is the second leading killer for women in the country.

Nyangasi however blamed the high number of deaths to women who present themselves late for screening at health facilities.

"Women need to start presenting themselves for screening early since cancer is curable once discovered in time," she added.

Nyangasi said that the government is in the process of establishing regional cancer centers in the country to help manage cases closer to people and help reduce the number of daily deaths.

"The government is putting emphasis with the aim of eradicating cervical cancer by the year 2030," she said. In 2018, 5,250 cervical cancer cases were reported in Kenya, 63 percent of which resulted in death.

The disease that affects the opening of the womb is the primary cause of cancer death among women in the country.