In an effort to reduce cervical-cancer related deaths in Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) with support from partners will roll out a nationwide human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination program targeting close to one million girls aged between 10 and 14 years.
In Gutu district, the international medical humanitarian organization, Medecins Sans Frontieres/ Doctors without Borders (MSF) is supporting MoHCC to roll out the HPV vaccination exercise by delivering the first dose of the 2-dose Cervarix vaccine to 15 000 girls in 246 schools from the 14th to the 24th of May, 2018 The follow up shot is expected for November 2018. HPV is the best method of preventing the development of cervical cancer.
Five teams, comprising MSF and MoHCC nurses will undertake the vaccination exercise in schools.
Join us for an informative day where you will learn more about the HPV vaccine and its preventive effect towards combatting cervical cancer from experienced nurses. You will also witness the vaccination exercise taking place in schools. Interviews will be made available.
In Zimbabwe, 2 270 women are diagnosed of cervical cancer every year and 1 450 women succumb to the disease.
Cervical cancer, which is caused by persistent infection of the cervix from HPV, is one of the leading causes of death for many women in developing countries. HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) which cause about 90 percent of all cervical cancers.
The government has previously piloted HPV vaccination program in other districts of Zimbabwe that include Marondera and Beitbridge in 2014 and 2015 and the exercise achieved 88.4 percent coverage.
About MSF’s Cervical Cancer project in Gutu district:
MSF has been supporting MoHCC to provide a comprehensive range of prevention and early treatment for cervical cancer in Gutu since 2015. This includes cervical cancer screening using a method called visual inspection with acetic acid and cervicography (VIAC) at six health centres in rural Gutu since 2015. MSF has also provided a Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP) machine so that women with early stage cancer can receive treatment in Gutu. In 2017, MSF in collaboration with MoHCC provided cervical cancer screening services to 4691 patients in Gutu.
Gutu is the only district in the country that has more than one rural centre that offers cervical cancer screening services due to decentralization of cervical cancer screening services. In other districts where women do not have access to cervical cancer screening services, women often present at advanced stages when it is already too late for treatment resulting in high deaths.
The implementation of the HPV vaccination exercise will help to prevent the spread of cervical cancer.
For more information or if you wish to conduct any interviews please feel free to contact:-
MSF Communications Officer
E-mail – [email protected]