Zim to launch HPV vaccine
Harare – Zimbabwe is getting ready to roll out the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine for teenage girls across the country.
Director of Epidemiology and Disease Control in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, Dr Portia Manangazira, said a pilot programme would target two provinces, with focus being on girls aged 10 to 13 years old.
“The programme will be fully rolled out in 2014 but for now, we are working on how best to prepare for this important national exercise, hence two health centres, one in Marondera (Mashonaland East Province) and one in Gwanda (Matabeleland South Province) will be identified for trials.”
Dr Manangazira said the national rollout would target girls as young as nine years old.
“Cervical cancer has some common features with HIV and AIDS in that it is highly transmitted through unprotected sex with an infected partner and it lies for years without one knowing.
“Vaccinating young girls is strategic in that sexual debut is unlikely at that time and their immune (system) will be very strong and given that the scourge has no cure yet, this is a positive stride,” she said.
UNICEF will partner the government in providing the vaccines.