By Ngollo John
Mwanza — Regional authorities here will administer at least 31,291 girls aged 14 with a vaccine to protect them from developing cervical cancer.
The campaign is scheduled to start on Monday, April 23 and will run up until April 30.
The campaign will be launched at the national level in Nyamagana District’s Butimba Hospital in the region.
Speaking at the opening of a training seminar for vaccine stakeholders in the region, Mwanza’s Vaccinations regional coordinator Amos Kiteleja said the exercise will also involve the administration of a vaccine against polio in children aged 16 week and above.
According to Health, Community Development, Gender, the Elderly and Children minister Ummy Mwalimu, the vaccine, if successfully administered will reduce the government’s spending on meeting health costs, particularly on the treatment of cervical cancer.
The minister elaborated that the treatment for cervical cancer patient costs anywhere from $2,000 and above while the vaccine against the disease costs $15 and that it was estimated that over 260,000 women in the world die of cervical cancer every year while the disease was preventable through treatment when diagnosed early.
According to the minister, the Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI) receives 22,000 cancer sufferers per year from different parts of the country, with most of them being treated for cervical cancer.
Speaking at the launch of the vaccine at the national level in Dar es Salaam on April 10, Ms Mwalimu said that 45.6 per cent of patients being received at ORCI were suffering from the cervical cancer, whereby 33 among 100 were being diagnosed with cervical cancer.
For his part, the director of the National Institute for Medical Research (Nimri) at the Mwanza Centre, Mr John Changalucha, said Mwanza was among the regions in the country with the highest number of women with cervical cancer, contributed partly by bilharzia.
The acting Mwanza Regional Medical Officer in Charge, Dr Silas Wambura, called upon residents of the region to do away with misleading beliefs about the vaccine and instead they should send their children to be administered with it.
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