Kenya is expected to roll out a free Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine for school going girls aged ten years.
Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), who have disbursed about 600 million shillings to facilitate the funding of the vaccines that are to be administered to about 800,000 school girls countrywide.
The plan to have girls immunized against the HPV virus was adopted by the government which contributed 50 million shillings towards the exercise.
The Cabinet Secretary for Health Sicily Kariuki had envisioned that the introduction of the exercise in schools would require about 800 million shillings if 800,000 girls are targeted.
“We want to protect our young girls from HPV which is the main cause of cervical cancer by vaccinating them. The exercise will be taking place alongside other routine vaccinations of children to girls currently aged ten and as we continue over the years, girls will get the vaccination when they reach ten years,” said CS Sicily Kariuki.
The CS said that ten-year-old girls will be getting the vaccine in two doses, six months apart, and for records, they will be issued with cards to determine whether or not they were immunized.
“The government has already provided the ministry with 1.3 million doses to be used for the introduction of the vaccination exercise,” she added.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has been working towards eliminating cervical cancer, and in its fight with cancer, it had planned to have 90 percent of girls under 15years of age vaccinated against HPV by 2030, and having women around the world have access to cervical cancer screening.
WHO’s regional director Dr. Fiona Atahebwe has commended Kenya’s s step in introducing the HPV vaccine and confirmed that the vaccine that is to be used in Kenya is safe as it has been tested and does not cause any side effects.
“The vaccine has been tested in other parts of the world and it is the safest for Africa. Protection against HPV means protection not only from cervical cancer but other conditions such as fighting the germs that cause infections, reducing the incidence of anogenital cancer and genital warts, decreasing the incidence of oropharyngeal cancer and reducing the maternal transmission of HPV infections to infants,” said Dr, Atahebwe.
The vaccine is set to be rolled out on Friday, 18th October 2019, which will make Kenya the 16th African country to roll out free HPV vaccination for school girls.