DEFEATING CANCER

Sensible to vaccinate daughters against HPV

In Summary

• HPV vaccine protects against cervical cancer which kills 10 women a day in Kenya.

• Vaccine will be given to young girls at 9,000 health centres across the country.

Health CS Sicily Kariuki
Health CS Sicily Kariuki
Image: Douglas Okiddy

Kenya is joining 115 countries that have the HPV vaccine as part of their routine immunisation schedules. Health CS Sicily Kariuki will roll out the vaccine in Mombasa today.

More than 800,000 10-year-old girls will receive two injections of the Human Papilloma Virus vaccine from this month (see Big Read P12/13).

The HPV vaccine primarily protects against cervical cancer which kills around 10 women per day in Kenya. It will be available at 9,000 health centres in Kenya.

The vaccine has dramatically reduced rates of cervical cancer in Europe and America. However, only 10 African countries have HPV vaccine as part of their routine immunisation schedule. 

Some church leaders and parents have been worried that the vaccine might encourage early sexual debut. But the vaccine's protection is for the future, not for today.

It is the responsibility of parents to ensure that their children are vaccinated for diseases like polio and measles as well as HPV. Parents are also responsible for the moral upbringing of their children. So the sensible way forward is to vaccinate our daughters against HPV but to explain that it is only to ensure they have a healthy adult life.

Quote of the day: "The holy book tells us the truth will set us free but in this world, I know different."

Lucky Dube
The South African singer was shot dead on October 18, 2007