Rwanda: Vaccination Against Cervical Cancer to Begin Soon

All Africa.com

March 25, 2011

The country is set to introduce a new vaccine against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) that is expected to reduce the number of women dying of cervical cancer.

Diane Mutamba, an official in the Ministry of Health, said that the vaccination is expected to begin next month, with girls in Primary six to be the first beneficiaries.

The vaccine, known as Gardasil, is manufactured by pharmaceutical company, Merck.

Cervical cancer is the most common cancer killer among women in Rwanda. The incidence of cervical cancer in Rwanda is 49.4/100,000. WHO estimates that about two women die each day in Rwanda from the cancer,” Mutamba said.

The cervix is the lower part of the womb which connects to the vagina. It is also called the opening of the womb. Cervical cancer occurs when cells on the cervix grow out of control.

“Cervical cancer is not a genetic disease. All women who have ever had sex are at risk of contracting this type of cancer. Most girls usually get infected with HPV.

She added that, if untreated, cervical cancer can be fatal, causes great pain and suffering, and has significant negative effects on families and communities.

“Doctors recommend that girls get vaccinated when they are adolescents. In Rwanda, the vaccine will be given to girls in Primary six, and ideally, girls should get this vaccine before their first sexual contact.”

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PG

Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.