Nigeria vaccinates 7M girls against cervical cancer

Nigeria has vaccinated seven million girls across the country against cervical cancer, a common disease among young women in the country.

The two-week vaccination program is a major step toward the protection of girls and women against the life-threatening disease, according to the Gavi Vaccine Alliance, a global health partnership collaborating with Nigeria’s Ministry of Health, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

“It’s a major breakthrough in girls’ health in Nigeria. In just two weeks, an impressive 7 million girls have been vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV),” said Sania Nishtar, the chief executive officer of the vaccine alliance.

HPV is a common infection spread through sex. High-risk forms of the virus can progress to cervical cancer.

In October 2023, Nigeria introduced the first phase of the HPV vaccine into its routine immunization exercise to combat cervical cancer, which is the second-leading cause of cancer death in women.

Nigeria’s Health Minister Muhammad Ali Pate said at the launch of the first phase of the vaccination in October 2023 that the vaccine targets girls between the ages of nine and 14.

The WHO describes cervical cancer as the second most frequent cancer among women in Nigeria.

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