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Kenya injects $8 million to roll out cervical cancer vaccine targeting close to a million school going kids

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  • The cancer shot will end in the vaccine programme included in the national immunisation routine.
  • The vaccine roll-out comes seven years later after Kenya agreed to make available the free HPV vaccine in the country.
  • A section of doctors affiliated with the Catholic Church have raised the alarm over the safety of the vaccine, citing a myriad of health complications.

Starting Friday, the Kenyan Ministry of Health will begin the first cervical cancer vaccine targeting school going children.

The cancer shot will end in the vaccine programme included in the national immunisation routine.


Health CS Sicily Kariuki

The ministry has set aside Sh800 million ($8 million) to drive the roll-out over the next one year and targets to give the free vaccine against the cancer-causing human papilloma virus (HPV) to about 800,000 girls.

“Starting this Friday we will start the routine roll-out of the cervical cancer vaccine and the country is ready with 1.3 million doses for the current year against the 800,000 target. We will give out two doses for maximum protection,” Health Cabinet Secretary, Cecily Kariuki told journalists on Wednesday in Nairobi.

Dosage



The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine has significantly reduced the incidence of cervical cancer


AFP

Two doses of the HPV vaccine will be given to the girls six months apart, at about 9,000 public, private and faith-based facilities countrywide.

“There are about 27,000 reported cancer deaths every year in Kenya…these are statistics that should make anyone freeze. Cervical cancer is preventable through vaccination and our children should not miss out on this chance,” Health Cabinet Secretary, Cecily Kariuki told journalists on Wednesday in Nairobi.



Two doses of the HPV vaccine will be given to the girls six months apart.


Stringer/Reuters

The ministry is rolling it out the immunisation plan closely with the Ministry of Education and in collaboration with development partners that include the vaccine alliance Gavi, Unicef and World Health Organization (WHO).

However, a section of doctors affiliated with the Catholic Church have raised the alarm over the safety of the vaccine, citing a myriad of health complications.

Long time coming



Kenyan Ministry of Health

The vaccine roll-out comes seven years later after Kenya agreed to make available the free HPV vaccine in the country.

Cervical cancer is the second-most prevalent cancer amongst women in Kenya after breast cancer but it claims more lives as most cases are detected at advanced stages.

Cancer is the third-leading cause of death in Kenya after infectious and cardiovascular diseases.