By Hassan Zaggi
The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) will introduce Human Papiloma Virus (HPV) immunization on a national scale in 2021.
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this while delivering a keynote address at the National Stakeholders’ Forum on the elimination of Cervical Cancer, in Abuja, Friday.
He noted that as part of efforts to ensure the implementation of the National Strategic Plan for Prevention of Cancer of the Cervix, his ministry has taken steps to commence national immunization programme against HPV which is responsible for over 70% of cervical cancer
The health ministry, he further said has concluded plans to increase screening campaigns hitherto conducted at the tertiary hospitals, through some individuals and non-governmental organizations and partners.
“The Federal Ministry of Health conducted a pilot immunization against HPV in 2011 which was one of the requirements for its integration into the National Programme on Immunization,” Ehanire , said.
The Minister lamented that cancer of the cervix is the second commonest cancer in women globally and it is the leading cause of cancer mortality in Nigeria.
“With a total population of about 200 million people, Nigeria has about 40 million women aged 15 years and older who are at risk of developing cervical cancer.
“Available data indicates that the incidence of cervical cancer in Nigeria is about 33/100,000 and an estimated 14,089 are diagnosed every year, with eight out of every ten of them presenting at an advance stage resulting in a mortality rate of about 25%.
“In order to reverse this trend, we have made efforts to increase our national capacity for prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of precancerous and cancerous lesions of the cervix in Nigeria,” he explained.
The Minister clarified that the National Strategic Plan for Prevention of Cancer of the Cervix provides a strategic direction for a national response to nib the scourge of cervical cancer in Nigeria in the bud.