HPV Vaccine

The Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria (APHPN) says the country is geared for free cervical cancer vaccine by 2021 across the country.

Dr Michael Oguntoye, the Chairman of APHPN, Kwara Chapter, disclosed this on Tuesday during the association’s commemoration of the 2020 World Cancer Day Cocktail Lecture.

Oguntoye revealed that in line with the call for action on cancer, partners such as World Health Organisation (WHO) were actively engaged in supporting Nigeria to tackle cervical cancer, the second leading cause of cancer mortality in the country.

He explained that cervical cancer can be prevented through vaccination, screening and treatment of pre-cancerous lesions and treatment of invasive cancer with palliative care.

The chairman of the APHPN noted that at present, HPV Vaccines were only available in private health facilities in Nigeria.

He said: “Efforts are however being made to include the HPV vaccine as part of national routine immunisation.

“HPV vaccination is recommended for girls between nine to 14 years of age and should be administered prior to becoming sexually active.”

Dr Raji Razaq, the state Commissioner for Health, said the state had approved that all women across the 16 local government areas of the state be screened for cervical cancer and breast cancer.

He assured that relevant treatment would also be provided.

Razaq said the observance of the cancer day on Feb. 4 was an opportunity to mobilise the international and local communities to end the injustice of preventable suffering cancer.

“According to WHO, across the globe every 17 minutes, people die from cancer and between 30 to 50 of all cancer cases are preventable,” he said.

Dr Ibrahim Oyebanjo, an expert in cancer who delivered a lecture on the “Role of Public Health Cancer Registry in Prevention of cancer”, emphasised the need for cancer registry across Nigeria.

He lamented the lack of registry for cancer cases in the country, quoting the WHO that of all the cancer registry literature update for countries all over the world, only one per cent of the literature was rated for Africa compared to 34 per cent and 42 per cent for Europe.

Also in her lecture, Dr Kike Adesina, a Specialist on cancer, spoke on the theme: “Female Genital Cancers: Strategies for Prevention”, advised women on the need for early screening and detection of cancer.

She also advised against the early introduction of girls to sexual orientation, adding that such girls risked high chances of cervical cancer.