Friday 8 September 2023

ABIA: HPV Vaccine Introduction To Be Launched September 25th

The Governor, Dr Alex Otti has restated his commitment to ensure that the healthcare system in the state is functional.

Governor Otti stated this when a delegation from the State and National Primary Healthcare Development Agencies paid him an advocacy visit at Government House Umuahia.

The Governor represented by his Chief of Staff, Pastor Caleb Ajagba who regretted the tragedy of losing one woman every two minutes to cervical cancer despite advancements in cervical cancer prevention and treatment, commended the federal government for introducing the lifesaving Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccines to protect teenage girls against cervical cancer and other related diseases.

The Governor further used the opportunity to call on the Abia state orientation agency to partner the team  in creating adequate awareness across the state on  the free HPV vaccines, dispel myths and misconceptions about the vaccine.

He further enjoined the State orientation agency to enlighten the citizenry on better better health-seeking behaviours and assured them of governments support to enable them carry out the exercise effectively.

In their speeches earlier, the Team Lead and State Immunization Officer, Mrs Happiness Akpulonu and the Team Lead from the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Mrs Amaka Nwoha disclosed that the essence of their visit is to intimate the state government of the Federal Government's move to  introduce a new anti-cancer vaccine known as the Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine into the national immunization schedule in 2023 and 2024.

They disclosed that the vaccine will help tackle the increasing rate of cervical, anal and oropharyngeal cancers.

According to them, the exercise which has Abia and Enugu states for the first phase will feature three campaigns including the HPV Vaccine Introduction which will be launched in the state on the 25th of this month, followed by the Outbreak Response Campaign and Measles Catch Up Campaign.

Contributing, the UNICEF Consultant on Vaccine Security and Logistics, Mr Ephraim Chukwu and the State Coordinator of World Health Organization, Dr Nasiru Bala Zurmi pointed out that the HPV vaccine introduction is targeted at girls between the ages of 9-14 years.

They explained that the purpose of the visit is to solicit the support of the state government in carrying out the exercise effectively and to show ownership of the new vaccine introduction as well as other campaigns coming up in this month.

In a vote of thanks, the Commissioner for Health Abia State, Dr Ngozi Okoronkwo commended Governor Otti for his efforts at strengthening primary healthcare facilities in the state, supporting health initiatives and providing  necessary technical support.

She charged the team to ensure transparency and accountability in carrying out their programmes in the state.

Our correspondent reports that some development partners from GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance - a global public - private partnership, WHO, UNICEF, Civil Society Organizations among others accompanied the team on the team.

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