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Vaccine rollout targets primary school students

Nanise Loanakadavu
Tuesday, December 11, 2012

THE new Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be rolled out in term one of school next year to immunise students in their last year of primary school.

And the Ministry of Health together with the Australian government hopes that the introduction of HPV vaccine will lead to a 99 percent reduction in cervical cancer.

The new vaccine will limit the transmission of Human Papillomavirus between partners

AusAID acting senior program manager, Margaret Vuiyasawa said countries like Australia had reported a decline in serious pre-cancerous lesions of the cervix in women less than 20 years within six years of introducing HPV vaccine.

"So we are ever hopeful that Fiji will see similar results too," Ms Vuiyawasa said.

She said the problem in Fiji was they had relatively sparse resources to deal with these patients and patients were usually presented late when the disease was in the advanced stages.

Fiji Health Sector Support Program's technical facilitator infant and child care, Kylie Jenkins, said this was a safe and effective vaccine, with millions of doses being given globally.

However, she said there was a lot of awareness to be carried out to allow children and parents to fully understand the HPV virus vaccine.

"Generally, women who are a bit older suffer from cervical cancer. The best thing to do is protect girls before they risk developing it," she said.

Ms Vuiyasawa said a recent pilot project had indicated that cervical cancer screening by Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid (VIA) was viable and appropriate to improve cervical cancer screening coverage.





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