The nationwide Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination programme targeting young girls has been extended to June 18 to cater for those that missed out during the vaccination campaign week, a Ministry of Health and Childcare official has said.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
Running from May 14 to May 18, the campaign targeting girls aged between 10 to 14 years was launched in various parts of the country as part of the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s recommended preventive measures against cervical cancer.
Briefing the media on Friday, the MoHCC Expanded Programme on Immunisation manager Mrs Joan Marembo said HPV vaccination is still ongoing at nearest clinics amid reports that some children were turned away.
“Those who missed during the campaign week can still access that service at their nearest clinics.
“That includes the city clinics because I think yesterday the stakeholders were telling us that some children are going to some clinics and are being turned away. They were told …we are done. We are finished.
She said the programme will be over on June 18. “We are not done. We are not yet finished. We will be finished on the 18 th of June. So if there are any challenges with a parent saying I went to clinic X I did not get your service. They are free to communicate with us. We can direct them to where they can get the vaccine,” Mrs Marembo said
Using Zimstat’s 2015 figures the MoHCC together with Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education came up with a target of 888 826 which translated to a 101 percent. During the campaign week Government managed to achieve a success rate of 86 percent covering against the set target. 101 percent target.
“MOHCC, MOPSE and ZIMSTATS estimated figure of 888 826 girls to be vaccinated, with 2.5% of them being out of school basing on the 2015 figures.
“As a country I think we achieved 86 percent. The number of vaccines was 759 454.
“You can see one of the fliers was Mash West. Maybe we also had Manicaland. And maybe the ones who had the least were Mat North and Mash East. These figures were based on the esitmated figures for the purposes of applying the vaccine.
Manicaland Province peformed the least. “Basing on what we found on the ground, Manicaland might have the least but the majority did very well,” said Mrs Marembo.
Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women with 99% of cases associated with HPV infection. Every year, 530 000 new cases are diagnosed with 275 000 women succumbing to cervical cancer.