A vaccination campaign against cervical cancer through the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine has been launched in Toro Local Government Area of Bauchi State by the National Health Care Development Agency (NHCDA) and UNICEF Bauchi Field Office.
Mrs. Aishatu Labaran, the UNICEF Local Government Facilitator, said at the launch that the vaccine is for girls aged nine to 14. She said that UNICEF had sensitized religious and traditional leaders, teachers, and over 100 schools in the area about the importance and dangers of the vaccine and cervical cancer. The campaign has received wide acceptance from the community.
HPV is a virus that can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact and can affect sexually active people. HPV can cause cervical cancer and other cancers such as vulva, vagina, penis, or anus. The vaccine can prevent these cancers by immunizing young girls before they are exposed to the virus.
The UNICEF officer said that the campaign aims to vaccinate 48,000 girls within three weeks. The campaign has been welcomed by the population. Labaran also said that the vaccine will be part of routine immunization and urged local authorities to engage the community to raise awareness.
Malami Danjuma, the Health Education Officer in Toro Local Government Area, said that over 13,000 girls had been vaccinated in the first two days of the campaign. He attributed the success to the efforts of the LGA Volunteer Community Mobilizers (VCM), mama2mama, and others who participated in pre-rollout activities.
Danjuma highlighted the significance of the vaccine in preventing cervical cancer among women of reproductive age and thanked UNICEF and other donors for their support in providing the vaccine and logistics for the campaign.
Rahmatu Ishiaku, the Director of Primary Healthcare in Toro Local Government Area, expressed appreciation to the Federal Government, UNICEF, and other donors for their contribution. She said that “People are happy to receive the vaccine and are even demanding it. If it doesn’t reach them, they are coming out to where the vaccination is taking place.”