Uhuru launches HPV vaccination for girls aged 10
President Uhuru Kenyatta Friday launched a vaccination campaign aimed at protecting Kenyan women against cervical cancer.
The vaccine against Human Papillomavirus (HPV) will be administered to girls aged 10 years across the country.
Uhuru launched the exercise at Ziwani Primary in Mombasa while accompanied by Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho
He announced that the drug will be available in all health centres across the country.
“The vaccine will be available to girls in all public health facilities, as well as private, faith-based and non-governmental organisation health facilities,” said Uhuru.
The Head of State said the launch of the vaccination programme is a proud moment for Kenya as it marks a major milestone in the fight against cervical cancer. He outlined legal reforms, provision of screening and cancer care services as some of the interventions his administration has put in place to defeat the cancer scourge.
“The screening services covered include cervical cancer screening, and advanced breast cancer screening, including mammography services, in all county referral hospitals,” he said.
In addition, the President said the government has increased investments to bolster cancer research, diagnosis and management.
In recent years, the health ministry has set up radiotherapy and chemotherapy facilities in Nyeri, Meru, Embu, Mombasa, Nakuru, Garissa, Bomet, Kakamega, Kisumu and Machakos.
“I am glad to note that the newly-completed Kenyatta University Hospital will be operational by the end of the month, providing increased access to cancer management through its state-of-the-art cancer services,” the President said.
Uhuru said Kenyans are now able to access diagnosis and management of cancer through their National Hospital Insurance Fund’s oncology package, adding that the government was progressing well with the rollout of the Universal Health Coverage programme that is now in the pilot phase.
“As a government, we recognise that effective delivery of the interventions I have enumerated above, will depend on the vitality of our health systems and a strong and responsive primary health care approach,” he said.
The President urged political and religious leaders to continue supporting the HPV vaccination programme, saying cancer does not discriminate victims based on religion or colour.
He advised Kenyans to adopt healthy lifestyles so as to reduce the prevalence of non-communicable diseases such as cancer and hypertension.
“Each and every one of us must ensure that we lead a healthy lifestyle; and routinely and early enough, seek appropriate screening services,” the President advised.
The HPV vaccine is most effective when administered to girls before they are exposed to the HPV virus. Many countries choose between the ages of 9 and 13 and Kenya has chosen 10 years as the most appropriate age for the same.
Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki, and Mvita MP Abdulsamad Nassir also attended the event.