Seychelles steps up efforts to fight cervical cancer
HPV vaccine administered to a young female (Art Writ, Flickr) Photo License: CC BY-NC 2.0
(Seychelles News Agency) - The Seychelles Ministry of Health will implement a new vaccination programme starting May 2014 as part of efforts to reduce the number of cervical cancer cases in the long run in the Indian Ocean archipelago.
The target group is 11 year old girls who will be given vaccination against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which causes cervical cancer.
HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the world and as much as eight women in ten run the risk of being infected from it. It can also cause anal and penile cancers.
According to statistics from the Seychelles Ministry of Health, the virus is directly responsible for the death of about six persons in Seychelles per year.
The Seychelles Minister for Health Mitcy Larue described the launching of the Human Papilloma Virus vaccination campaign as an important milestone in primary health care development in the Seychelles.
She noted that phenomenal success has been made with Seychelles on record as one of the few developing countries which has achieved universal child immunisation and with not a single case of polio recorded for the last forty-eight years.
“Even if cervical cancer can be one of the deadliest cancers in Seychelles, it is a curable disease and will be reduced and eventually eliminated through immunisation,” said Larue. “One day Seychelles will be free of cervical cancer. I have no doubt about it. Together we can make it happen and it will happen.”
Parents with girls falling in the target group for the vaccination campaign are being asked to support the programme while health officials are being called upon to provide them with all the information possible.
The World Health Organisation’s Liaison officer for Seychelles Dr. Cornelia Atsyor also expressed confidence that the HPV Vaccination Programme will improve the population’s health and well-being.
Recalling that HPV is responsible for two thirds of all cancers including seventy percent of cervical cancers, she said that the rise in cases of cancer in Africa is a concern for WHO.
“(….) But the disease can be cured through awareness, early detection and vaccination,” said Atsyor.