By Samuel Ouma |@journalist_27
Kenya is set to roll out free cervical cancer vaccine for school girls on Friday, October 18 after the programme was launched yesterday in a ceremony that was presided by Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki.
The vaccine known as the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) will aid in hindering lethal infection as well as reducing chances of contacting anogenital cancer and genital warts. It will also reduce oropharyngeal cancer and maternal transmission of HPV infection to infants.
The main targets are 800,000 girls 10-years old and above in public, private and faith based schools across the country. The two doses of the vaccine will be administered to the girls twice in a year. A total of $8 million has been set aside to support the roll-out.
“The vaccine will be offered nationally alongside other routine infant vaccines through an existing network of more than 9,000 public, private, faith-based and NGO health facilities free of charge to 800,000 girls, who are currently aged 10 and subsequently to all girls as they attain that age in the future,” said Ms. Kariuki.
The Ministry of Health is working in partnership with Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (Gavi}, World Health Organization and Unicef to support the project which aims at eliminating cervical cancer which is the third cause of deaths in Kenya.
The project will see Kenya join the list of African countries like Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe and many others who have has already rolled out HPV.
Cervical cancer is the second dominant type of cancer after breast cancer in the East African country.