Cervical cancer vaccines for girls between nine and 14 years would be provided primarily schools

staff reporter

The Centre today said cervical cancer vaccines for girls between nine and 14 years would be provided primarily through schools. It also asked states and UTs to start collating data on the number of girls enrolled in Classes V to X in each district and create awareness on the importance of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

For registration, recording and reporting of vaccination numbers, the U-WIN App would be used, said the Ministry of Education 

The ministry said a joint letter by Education Secretary Sanjay Kumar and Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan to states highlighted that cervical cancer was the second most common cancer, contributing to the largest proportion of global cervical cancer burden. “Cervical cancer is a preventable and curable disease as long as it is detected early and managed effectively. Most cervical cancers are associated with the HPV and the vaccine can prevent most cases of cervical cancer if it is given before girls or women are exposed to the virus. Prevention through vaccination is one of the pillars of the global strategy adopted by the WHO for the elimination of cervical cancer,” it said.

The National Technical Advisory Group for Immunisation has recommended introduction of HPV vaccine in the Universal Immunisation Programme with a one-time catch-up for girls between the age of nine and 14 years followed by routine introduction after nine years 

For that, states/ UTs have been asked to issue necessary directions to make the campaign a success, including setting of HPV vaccination centres in schools and spreading awareness among parents through special parent-teacher meetings.

“The vaccination would be provided primarily through schools. In order to reach those girls who are unable to attend school on the campaign day, the vaccination would be provided at a health facility. For out-of-school girls, the campaign will be conducted through community outreach and mobile teams,” the letter says.

Meanwhile, the Centre also asked the states and UTs to create handwashing facilities and train teachers in imparting hygiene education to students

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