Ministry Of Education Should Allow HPV Vaccine For Pupils

By Andanje Wakhungu

The Ministry of Education through sub-county directors needs to allow community health promoters to conduct the Human Papilloma Virus HPV vaccine among school-going pupils. Kakamega County first lady Professor Janet Kassilly Barasa while launching the Malava sub-county free cancer awareness, screening and HPV vaccination, at the Malava level four hospital, observed that there was low turnout on the number of pupils who turn out for the vaccine considering the dangers the disease posed to humans.

The First Lady called on the community health promoters to mobilize and disseminate information to communities to have girls between the ages of 9 to 19 years to come for the vaccine at the sub-county hospital. She said is free of charge and was meant to prevent cancer infection. “We are here today to bring free cancer awareness campaign as I had promised during 1st April 2023 in Matungu and today we are in Malava where screening of breast, cervical and prostate cancer alongside HPV vaccination is ongoing and this exercise is brought here with the aim of minimizing cancer, we urge the locals to take the initiative by undergoing screening for early detection and treatment.

 For school-going pupils, it’s an opportunity for them to be vaccinated to prevent cancer infection, and as a county we are partnering with other counties and health practitioners to ease the burden of medical expenses, they should come out in large numbers and take advantage of the exercise. We were in Matungu during the launch where we managed to screen 256 women against breast cancer 3 cases of breast abnormalities, and 5 women with suspicious cases were referred as 8 men tested for prostate cancer and am calling on all partners supporting maternal health to come on board as we realize this journey together.   

Professor JK Barasa noted that the county had recorded a small percentage of cancer patients being screened despite the excise being free with most men absconding from screening.  So far, cancer data for the county indicates that only 19.5% have been screened in 2022 which is lower as the county targets 30%   by 2023 December when girls between 10-14 years should be on their second vaccine. Our county cancer centre recorded 1915, against 1335 breast cancer with the number of men coming up for screening being low, as the hospital 230 (cervical) patients are identified, we want to call upon our men and women to watch their nutrition as cancer comes along due to nutrition malpractices, especially in men, they should have information on cancer, go for screening often, get vaccinated for HPV, especially for girls aged 9-14years and practice healthy eating habits.

As a county, we are set to create awareness about cancer screening and the importance of early screening and the HPV vaccination and it is only through allowing our community health promoters to visit schools and vaccinate our girls and educate them on the dangers of cancer as the same information will be passed to their parents effectively.

Cancer is not witchcraft especially cervical cancer in women is spread through unprotected multiple sexual partners whereas it is the same virus that causes breast cancer in men, let us take the honour to know our status by going for the free screening in all our hospitals across the county, but for today for those found with the disease in its early stages will be treated for free, but if you visit our centres, you will be screened for free but pay for treatment and I’m urging the men to go for screening as cancer is not only for the women as many of them perceive there’s prostate and breast cancer affecting men too” The county chief officer of education Leah Khasandi agreed to the fact that cancer was claiming a lot of lives today and advised the locals to go for the free screening and treatment for early signs detection. Cancer is very expensive to treat if it is detected late and this is the only chance for our young girls to be brought here for screening purposes and for those parents who have not taken their girls for the vaccine take up the challenge and do so.

Chemuche ward Mca Geoffrey Sikolia urged the school heads across the sub-county to ensure girls are vaccinated through liaising with the community health promoters. He lauded the move by the governor to promote the community health promoters with a monthly wage as of beneficial value in health service delivery at the grass root level.

The Malava Hospital medical superintendent Terry Kamau who hosted the first lady and her entourage at the facility hailed the initiative to commence the screening as they have been advising the patients on the dos and don’ts but the availability of screening services will enable them to be able to diagnose many patients.

The health partners working in collaboration with the county government Nuru Ya Mtoto official Noel Olale heeded the calls on the education sector to take centre stage by disseminating information on the dangers of cancer and the need to vaccinate young girls against the killer disease. “Our vaccination in school going girls is very low and that is our target as we need to prevent as many girls from the disease as possible” On politics, she urged the locals to return the favour come 2027 after they failed him in 2022 by splitting the votes. The governor has been traversing this sub-county initiating projects even if you did not give him the votes as expected but we hope that in the coming election, you will rally behind him fully.   

Leave a Reply