Fiji Time: 2:35 PM on Saturday 20 December

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Vaccine to fight cervical cancer

Nasik Swami
Sunday, January 27, 2013

More than 120 women develop cervical cancer, 60 die from the disease every year and one woman in Fiji is diagnosed with cervical cancer every three to four days.

The Health Ministry in partnership with AusAID launched the new $10million Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine for female students in Class Eight on Friday.

Minister for Health Dr Neil Sharma said over the past decades in Fiji, cervical cancer was the most common in women.

At the launch, acting Australian High Commissioner Glenn Miles said it was a major milestone for the future generation of women in Fiji.

"Under this agreement, the HPV vaccine will be offered through the School Health Program to Class Eight girls," Mr Miles said.

In total, 8000 girls in Fiji may receive the HPV vaccine in 2013.

The vaccines will be administered by injection. All primary schoolteachers will issue a consent form and brochure to all Class Eight girls which will require parents to authorise whether they want their daughters to be vaccinated in schools.

Dr Sharma said cervical cancer was caused by a virus called the human papillomavirus or HPV, adding the vaccine is 95-100 per cent effective in preventing infections from two types of HPV.

"The virus is easily transmitted through skin to skin contact and four out of every five adults will be infected with a strain of HPV at some point in their lives. In women infection with HPV virus can lead to cervical cancer," he said.

"The HPV vaccines are used in more than 100 countries and are deemed to be very safe. The decision to approve the vaccine for use in Fiji was based on evidence of its safety and effectiveness from clinical trials," he said.





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