Malawi girls will be required to get vaccinated against human papilloma virus (HPV) – thought to cause about 99% of cervical cancers and the jabs could save several hundred lives every year and also provide protection against other cancers and genital warts.
Ministry of Health and Population says it willroll out the HPV vaccination in all the 28 districts of the country from January next year.
According to spokesman of Ministry of Health. Joshua Malango, they have successfully conducted the pilot phase in Rumphi and Zomba districts the ministry is currently finalising preparations ahead of the mass vaccination exercise.
Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative GAVI) has pumped in US$2.6 million (about MK1.9 billion) while Malawi Government is contributing resources in form of staff, vehicles as well as storage space for the vaccine.
The Ministry of Health piloted the HPV vaccine in 2013. It targeted young girls aged between 9-13 in Rumphi rural and Zomba urban.
The aim was to determine the effectiveness of the vaccine in protecting them against HPV, a virus that causes cervical cancer in women.
HPV can be transmitted during sexual intercourse or skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. Transmission from mother to baby can also occur immediately before or after birth.
It is estimated that the level of protection offered by the vaccine will last for at least 10 years
Cervical cancer is one of the most deadly but most preventable forms of cancer in women. It is the most common cancer in women under 35