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Expert encourages Nigeria to Reduce Cervical Cancer by 98% Through HPV Vaccination

A Radiation and Clinical Oncologist with Asi Ukpo Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Calabar, Dr. Kwis Samuel, has commended the federal government’s measures to reduce cases of cervical cancer which is in the region of 12,000 new infections annually.

He said through the vaccination of girls and women, cervical cancer prevalence in the nation could be reduced by 98 per cent in the country.Samuel who stated this in Calabar, Cross River State on Wednesday during a free Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination of girls between 9 and 14 years said, “Global figure shows that in 2020, there were about 600,000 new cases of cervical cancer, with about 340,000 deaths.

“In this figure, about 90 per cent of the deaths were in low and middle income countries and in Nigeria, research shows that there are about 12,000 new cervical cancer cases annually and more than 50 per cent of this number may eventually die from the disease.“The focus of the vaccine is on young girls because cervical cancer unlike other cancers, has a known cause which is HPV commonly contracted during unprotected sexual activities.”

Samuel said HPV was a common sexually transmitted virus which usually shows no symptoms but sometimes cause serious illnesses such as cervical, anal, and vaginal cancer, and other forms of diseases.He said the federal government’s move towards making HPV vaccines available in 16 pilot states including Abuja,Federal Capital Territory, FCT, to check the spread of the virus was laudable.

At the Asi Upko Comprehensive Cancer Centre where over 250 girls from primary and secondary schools across the state were vaccinated against HPV, the oncologist said vaccination against HPV was necessary because only two per cent of cervical cancer cases were not associated to HPV.Also speaking at the event, President of the Pink Africa Foundation, Dr. Nchiewe Ani, said cervical cancer ranks second to breast cancer among the leading causes of deaths among Nigerian women.

Ani, who was represented by Secretary to the Foundation, Mrs Gedah Etafia, said the introduction of HPV vaccines was a medical advancement, and a global beacon of hope for women and girls who could be shielded from a future of pain caused by cervical cancer.She appealed to parents, and leaders at all levels to sensitise the people around them on the benefits of the HPV vaccines.She urged them to ensure that every eligible girl child between nine years, and 14 years was vaccinated.

The wife of the Cross River State governor, Mrs. Enyoawan Otu, who was represented at the event by Dr. Comfort Okon, her Senior Special Assistant on Administration said by immunising young girls early, the devastating circle of cervical cancer could be seriously checkmated.

Mrs. Otu said cervical cancer affects thousands of women globally , hence the need for a comprehensive approach in tackling the disease.She said it was vital for proactive measures, such as the vaccination of the girls, to be taken in order to safeguard the health and future of the girl child.“This cancer is a silent killer often detected at an advance stage when treatment options are limited, so, providing HPV vaccines for the girls is securing their future against this cancer by about 90 per cent,” she said.

The vaccination exercise was in partnership among Asi Upko Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Pink Africa Foundation, Act Foundation, the Government of Cross River among others.

The Laurels International Magazine


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