Demonstration of HPV vaccination to be extendedOfficials say only around 20 percent of the vaccine has been administered in three days
The Ministry of Health and Population plans to extend the demo vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV), citing that few girls are taking the jabs.
Officials at the Immunisation Section at the Family Welfare Division of the Department of Health Services said that only around 20 percent of the vaccine doses were administered in three days.
“Our plan was to administer the doses within five days, but the vaccine uptake is very low,” said Dr Abhiyan Gautam, the section chief. “We will have to extend the days of the vaccine demonstration.”
Nepal received 20,000 doses of the HPV vaccine, enough to vaccinate some 9,500 girls, in the first week of July.
The health ministry rolled out the vaccine on Wednesday from one hospital in each of the seven provinces. Minister for Health and Population Mohan Bahadur Basnet launched the campaign at the Paropakar Maternity and Women’s Hospital.
The doses were distributed proportionally to the size of the population in each province, officials say.
The ministry said that the vaccine was administered from Koshi Hospital in Biratnagar, Narayani Hospital of Madhesh, Paropakar Maternity Hospital of Bagmati, Pokhara Academy of Health Sciences of Gandaki, Bheri Hospital in Nepalgunj of Lumbini Province, Birendranagar Provincial Hospital of Karnali and Dadeldhura Hospital in Sudurpaschim.
The ministry has given the vaccine to girls between 14 and 15 years.
Human papillomavirus spreads through skin contact. The virus causes cervical cancer, the second-most common cancer in the developing world and a major cause of death in Nepali women. Hundreds of women are estimated to be diagnosed with cervical cancer every year in Nepal.
According to the BP Koirala Memorial Cancer Hospital in Bharatpur, more than 700 women suffering from cervical cancer seek treatment there every year.
Experts say early treatment prevents up to 80 percent of cervical cancer.
The government itself purchased the vaccine doses. Each girl between 11 and 13 needs to be administered two doses of the vaccine over a period of six months.
The World Health Organisation says HPV vaccination is recommended as part of a coordinated strategy to prevent cervical cancer and other diseases caused by the virus.