The human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination campaign for teenage girls has benefitted 85% (751 367) of the targeted 883 534 girl population since its launch last month, NewsDay has learnt.
BY VANESSA GONYE
In a statement, Health ministry’s epidemiology and disease control director, Portia Manangazira said despite the challenges met during the campaign, they covered a greater part of the country, where they were targeting young girls aged between nine and 14 years, to vaccinate them against cervical cancer
“The HPV vaccination campaign is a school-based programme which took place in between May 14 and 18. After the official campaign week, health facilities continued vaccinating until June 18, 2018,” she said.
Manicaland province reached 95% of the targeted girls, followed by Mashonaland West at 92%. Mashonaland Central and Chitungwiza both reached 86% of the target group, with Midlands at 83% and Matabeleland South (82%), Bulawayo and Harare (80%), Mashonaland East (79%) and Matabeleland North (68%).”
“The evidence base shows that high HPV vaccine coverage reduces the economic and human costs of cervical cancer in the long-term,” she said.
Zimbabwe’s 2018 HPV campaign was unique in that it had a multi-year age criteria. From May 2019, the campaign will target 10-year-old girls in or out of school.
It is estimated that by 2050, cervical cancer will have affected close to one million women, out of which 900 000 will be in developing countries. Globally, the incidence of cervical cancer is at 15/100 000 women, and is currently at 35/100 000 in Zimbabwe.
Annually, 2 270 new cases of cervical cancer are recorded in Zimbabwe with 1 541 associated deaths.
Zimbabwe is currently 8th in the administration of the HPV vaccine in Africa.