Minister of Health and Population, Atupele Muluzi has said the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccines will help the country to reduce the spread of cervical cancer.
Muluzi, said this during the launch of cervical cancer vaccines, that will be administered on girls who are aged 9, at St Charles Lwanga primary school ground.
According to the minister, in 2018 which is last year, there have been reports of about 4000 cases and over 2800 deaths of the disease
“Cervical cancer can be largely prevented with the HPV vaccine, so I am very excited with its introduction across Malawi. It is going to have a significant impact on preventing many young women from cervical cancer.”
Muluzi said the virus spreads through sexual contact and the risks of contracting the virus are increased for those with multiple sexual partners, for young girls who are engaged in sexual intercourse, and for those with other infections or a weakened immune system.
He said cervical cancer progresses slowly and can take up to 20 years to be identifiable.
The minister said cervical cancer is the largest cause of cancer deaths among women aged 15-49 years in Malawi.
In response to this, the Government of Malawi has implemented several strategies to address cervical cancer following the ministry’s Health Sector Strategic Plan II for 2017 to 2022.
The government is also in line with the decisions made at the 2013 World Health Assembly in Geneva that identified cervical cancer as a priority intervention within the action plan for the prevention and control of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) 2013-2020.
He further called upon parents of all girls aged 9 to ensure they get vaccinated, both school going and those in the villages not attending school.