Government to Administer Second Dose of HPV Vaccine in March

“The Ministry of Health and Population is set to administer the second dose of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in March to girls who received the initial dose earlier. Following the initial demonstration program in September, where 9,980 girls aged 14 to 15 from all seven provinces received the first 20,000 government-purchased doses, the second dose aims to combat the viral infection that causes cervical cancer.

Dr. Abhiyan Gautam, Chief of the Immunisation Section of the Family Welfare Division, noted that the second dose will be administered at the same locations as the first. Cervical cancer ranks as the second-most common cancer in the developing world and a significant cause of death among Nepali women.

In the fiscal year 2023-2024 policies and programs, the government emphasized HPV vaccination. HPV, a sexually transmitted infection, is a leading cause of cervical cancer. Early treatment can prevent up to 80 percent of cervical cancers, and widespread immunization can mitigate the global impact of HPV-related cancers.

Several countries, including Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and the Maldives, have nationally introduced HPV vaccines. Nepal initially piloted HPV vaccines in 2016 in Chitwan and Kaski districts, vaccinating all girls aged 11 to 13.

Looking ahead, the health ministry plans a nationwide HPV vaccination drive in the third quarter of 2024. Around 1.7 million girls aged 10 to 14 will be targeted, and the campaign will integrate HPV vaccination into routine immunization. Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunisation (GAVI) has agreed to provide vaccine doses for this initiative, and once completed, the HPV vaccine will become a part of the government’s regular immunization program. The World Health Organization recommends HPV vaccination as a crucial strategy to prevent cervical cancer and related diseases caused by the virus.”

[Source: The Kathmandu Post]

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