Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Dr. Gerald Gwinji has revealed that the government will be vaccinating all girls up to the age of 14 against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which is the leading cause of cervical cancer.
Speaking to the Sunday Mail, Dr. Gwinji said:
The strategy to reduce the risk of cervical cancer now includes HPV vaccination and, to work best, HPV vaccination must be given before sexual debut because that is when you can protect them.
Therefore, it basically targets girls in school — from 10 to about 14 years of age — for it to have an impact. The idea is to start before sexual debut; that’s where the protection is optimum.
We are going to target schools around the country. It should be noted, though, that we will vaccinate girls in schools and those who are not at learning institutions. Once the age group we are targeting is done, we will move on to vaccinate Grade Five girls only.
Cervical cancer is the leading cause of death among Zimbabwean women, accounting for 15 percent of all cancer cases reported by the Zimbabwe Cancer Registry in 2012.
More: Sunday Mail