GOVERNMENT yesterday launched the Human Papiloma Virus (HPV) vaccine for prevention of cervical cancer among girls under the age of 10 years.
Speaking at the launch in Beitbridge, Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa said: “We recognised that cervical cancer is the leading cancer in Zimbabwe.
“The major cause is HPV and they get that virus through sexual contact with men.”
“We want to break that chain and that is through prevention which is by vaccination.”
He said the pilot vaccination programme was targeted at over 4 000 girls aged 10 years and below.
“We will start off with a demo programme, then we have a nationwide rollout in 2016.”
Primary and Secondary Education deputy minister Paul Mavima said the ministry supported the programme.
“We are going to increase access and reduce dropout rates.”
Meanwhile, Parirenyatwa has called on officials at the country’s border posts to tighten their screening procedures for the deadly Ebola virus following observations that the process was porous.
Speaking after a tour of the Beitbridge Border Post, Parirenyatwa urged the port health officials to revise the screening set-up to detect the Ebola virus so that cross-border travellers could be screened before they crossed to the Zimbabwean side.
“We want to re-arrange our surveillance and screening, we have been doing it from inside, but we need to have it outside now.”
Parirenyatwa said truck drivers were now required to produce a certificate of screening for them to be allowed to cross the country’s borders.
The deadly disease has killed over 3 000 people in West African countries such as Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria since the first case was detected in March while in southern Africa the Ebola virus has also killed several people in the Democratic Republic of Congo.