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Enugu State Achieves Milestone: 220,000 Girls Successfully Vaccinated Against HPV

Enugu State has made significant strides in public health by successfully vaccinating 220,000 girls against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) to prevent cervical cancer. The groundbreaking initiative, conducted by the Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency, took place between October 24 and 29, achieving an impressive 66% coverage rate.

Dr. Ifeyinwa Ani-Osheku, the Executive Secretary of the Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency, announced this major accomplishment during a press briefing in Enugu on Sunday. She highlighted the urgency of combating HPV, which is the leading cause of more than 95% of cervical cancer cases among women.

HPV Vaccination Campaign Overview

The HPV vaccination campaign targeted girls aged nine to 14 and was strategically carried out in schools, worship centers, and other public places. Dr. Ani-Osheku emphasized the success of the initiative, with a coverage rate exceeding 66%, particularly noteworthy for a newly-introduced vaccine.

“Enugu State received approximately 244,000 vials of the HPV vaccine, and we have successfully vaccinated 220,000 girls. This achievement, with a success rate of over 66%, is highly commendable, especially considering it is a recently introduced vaccine,” stated Dr. Ani-Osheku.

Future Goals and Routine Immunization

Looking ahead, Dr. Ani-Osheku outlined the agency’s ambitious goals. “By 2024, our aim is to ensure that every girl child between nine and 14 years old is vaccinated, achieving an immunization rate of up to 90%.”

Addressing initial resistance to the vaccine, Dr. Ani-Osheku acknowledged that apprehension was natural with a new vaccine. However, the agency successfully communicated the safety and effectiveness of the HPV vaccine, gaining community trust.

With the completion of the vaccination campaign in schools and public spaces, Enugu State has seamlessly integrated the HPV vaccine into routine immunization services at primary healthcare centers. This holistic approach ensures sustained protection for young girls in the region.

The success of Enugu State’s HPV vaccination campaign serves as a model for other regions, showcasing the impact of proactive public health measures in preventing cervical cancer and safeguarding the well-being of young girls.

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