BY PATIENCE IVIE IHEJIRIKA, Abuja
In a bid to actualise the 2030 target on cervical cancer, the federal government said it is working to ensure wide accessibility and availability of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine, through the National Programme on Immunisation by 2021.
The minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, stated this during the lighting up of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) Headquarters, as part of activities to celebrate the formal launch of the Cervical Cancer Elimination Strategy, yesterday in Abuja.
He said that the vaccination will target young girls and boys to eliminate Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which is known to be responsible for over 70 per cent of Cervical Cancer cases.
Ehanire further stated that dedicated tertiary health facilities are being upgraded to provide advanced specialised diagnostics and treatment, including radiotherapy and chemotherapy, adding that the development of a National Hospice and Palliative Care policy to address palliative care needs of patients was projected to be launched in the first quarter of 2021.
Earlier, the executive director, NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, regretted that even though cancer is preventable and treatable when detected early enough, it accounts for the high rate of deaths recorded among Nigerians and cervical cancer is the leading cause of death among women.
“In Nigeria, women play a critical role in supporting the family. The role of women in Nigeria development cannot be over-emphasised but unfortunately, cervical cancer takes lives of some women at their prime,” he said.
The ED therefore called on co-operate organisations to join hands towards the elimination of cervical cancer in the country.
In its goodwill message, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (Chai), said it is supporting the NPHCDA on its plan to introduce the HPV Vaccine.