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Enugu Launches Initiative To Combat Cervical Cancer

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Initiatives to prevent cervical cancer in women have been launched by the Enugu State Government, including the introduction of routine Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations as a defense against the disease.

Addressing a gathering in Enugu, Governor Peter Mbah declared that the vaccine would be accessible at no cost for young girls aged nine to 14, obtainable at healthcare centers spread across the state.

Through Deputy Governor Ifeanyi Ossai, Mbah vowed to tackle any individual or group attempting to dissuade residents from accepting and receiving the vaccination, emphasizing strict consequences.

He reiterated the importance of the vaccine as a key resource for the state in combating cervical cancer.

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‘I urge our women in the churches and other places of worship, in homes and schools, to embrace the vaccine. I implore you to dismiss the false claims against the vaccine because it has been certified by the world health authorities as safe,’ the governor said.

He acknowledged that healthcare professionals were encountering difficulties in delivering the vaccine to those who required it due to the proliferation of misleading information.

Mbah appealed for the partnership between healthcare authorities, professionals, and women’s organizations in religious institutions to undertake the task of re-educating the public on the safety of the vaccine.

‘We need to explain to them the investment the state government has continued to make in preventing diseases that are preventable,’ he said.

He expressed his disapproval of individuals without medical training spreading false information through social and mainstream media, cautioning that the government would take legal measures against them.

Dr. Ifeyinwa Ani-Osheku, the Executive Secretary of the Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency, highlighted the growing threat of cervical cancer among women, underscoring that prioritizing prevention was both a moral obligation and a strategic choice.

Ani-Osheku disclosed that Enugu, alongside 15 other states, would be included in the first phase of the vaccination program, outlining that it would be implemented concurrently across all 17 local governments, with administration taking place at primary health care centers, educational institutions, places of worship, and within communities.

Health Commissioner Prof. Emmanuel Obi applauded the steps taken in the vaccination program, emphasizing that preventive actions would prevent young girls from enduring cervical cancer in the future.

Representatives from the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the non-governmental organization FHI360 delivered positive messages, assuring the safety of the vaccine in preventing cervical cancer.

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