Mzuzu, January 10, 2019. Mzimba North District Health Office (DHO) has said that it is prepared to roll out Cervical Cancer Vaccine campaign which is scheduled to start from January 14 to 18, 2019.
Ministry of Health and Population, in a bid to combat cervical cancer in the country, is introducing a vaccine for nine year- old girls throughout the country and the launching ceremony is scheduled for January 10,2019 in Mangochi District.
In an interview Wednesday, Mzimba North DHO Public Relations Officer, Lovemore Kawayi said the office has oriented all personnel who are expected to be involved in the vaccination exercise.
“Health workers, school health and nutrition teachers, head teachers, Primary Education Advisors and traditional leaders have already been oriented ahead of the exercise.
“We are already in the process of orienting drama groups which will help raise awareness about the exercise to complement our officer’s efforts on the same so that we reach out to as many girls as possible,” he said.
Kawayi could not disclose the exact number of girls targeted for the exercise as mobilization is underway.
In December, 2018, Ministry of Health and Population announced that among its routine vaccines, the Ministry said that it will national wide introduce Cervical Cancer Vaccine for nine year-old girls.
According to Assistant Director of Clinical Services responsible for Non-Communicable Diseases in the Ministry, Hastings Chiumia said that the vaccine is not recommended for order women as the vaccine may not have any preventive effects on them.
“The vaccine which protects girls child for life, will only work effectively in girls below age of 14 particularly those who have not engaged in any sexual debut, otherwise if already involved any form of sexual activities it will mean that they are already exposed to the virus which causes cervical cancer,” he said.
Chiumia said the vaccine would be taken in two doses within a space of six months.
“Let me warn the girls that the vaccine will not protect them from pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections including HIV as the vaccine is only meant to protect from cervical cancer,” he added.
Chiumia said redness of the skin, pain, itching, swelling and soreness of the vaccine injection site are some of the side effects which are expected to disappear few days after the vaccination.
He explained that it is recommended that after receiving the vaccination, the girl child should linger around the vaccination site for at least 15 minutes before leaving so that incase an emergency, the health officers present could attend to her.