Limpopo aims to champion cervical cancer campaign for girls

2017-08-21 21:22
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi during the launch of an HPV vaccine campaign. (GCIS)

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi during the launch of an HPV vaccine campaign. (GCIS)

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Polokwane - The Department of Health in Limpopo is accelerating its roll out of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination to school going girls. 

Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba launched the second leg of the vaccination drive at Ga-Maja near Polokwane on Monday. They hope to vaccinate more than 69 000 girls in a bid to stop cervical cancer at early stage.

Cervical cancer, caused by HPV, is a leading cause of cancer death in women in South Africa.

Read: What you need to know about HPV vaccination

Department officials are adamant that vaccination at an early stage is a necessary tool to improve effective cancer prevention.

Ramathuba said the first leg, which started in February this year and ended in March, saw few children responding to the programme. 

It is estimated that at least 54 00 children were vaccinated during the first leg, but authorities blame the poor response on parents.

Ramathuba believes the number could have been higher if parents gave their children permission to be vaccinated.

“We don’t just vaccinate children, parents must first give consent,” she said.

Private health care

According to Ramathuba, the virus is prevalent among children whose parents cannot afford private health care.
 
She said the vaccination services remain one of the more expensive products among the poor and the working class.

The department said to win the battle it will also deploy retired nurses to champion the campaign.

Vaccinations against HPV became part of the national vaccination programme in 2014 when SA became the first African country to fund cervical cancer vaccines for schoolgirls, whereby all grade four girls in public schools would be vaccinated with two doses of the bivalent HPV vaccine, Cervarix. Currently, boys are not vaccinated.


Read more on:    polokwane  |  health

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