… as WHO, UNICEF declare vaccine safe
Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State has flagged off human pappilloma virus (HPV) routine vaccination against cervical cancer among women in the state, saying the vaccine is free and avaliable to young girls between 9 and 14 years at all healthcare centres across the state.
Mbah, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Barr. Ifeanyi Ossai at the event held in Enugu on Tuesday, said the state must take advantage of the vaccine availed by science in fighting the preventable cervical cancer among women.
“I urge our women in the churches and other places of worship, in the homes and schools to embrace the vaccine. I implore you to dismiss the false claims against the vaccine because it has been certified by the world health authorities as safe”, he stated.
He noted that healthcare professionals were facing the challenge of the spread of false information in their efforts to deliver the vaccine to those that desperately and genuinely needed it.
The governor called for urgent collaboration of healthcare authorities and professionals with women organisations in various places of worship to re-educate the people that the vaccine is safe.
“We need to explain to them the investment the state government has continued to make in preventing diseases that are preventable”, he said.
Governor Mbah expressed dismay against those who, though not trained health professionals, use the social and mainstream media to spread false information to the public, warning that the government would go after them in line with the laws.
“You cannot in the year 2023, without education or professional license, go on social or mainstream media and give a medical opinion. Enugu State is not a lawless society, and we will stop at nothing to bring such people to justice, henceforth,” he stated.
Speaking earlier, the Executive Secretary of the Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Ifeyinwa Ani-Osheku, who lamented the rising scourge of cervical cancer among women, said investing in prevention is not only the right thing but the smart thing to do.
“Most cancers are hard to prevent, but cervical cancer has the good fortune of being one of those cancers that can be prevented”, she observed.
Dr. Ani-Osheku said Enugu State was joining 15 other states in the country for the first phase of the roll-out of the vaccination programme, stressing that it would run simultaneously in all the 17 local government areas of the state and would be administered at primary healthcare centres, schools, centres of worship and various communities.
On his part, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Emmanuel Ikechukwu Obi, commended the timely action of the vaccination programme, saying prevention would save young girls from suffering cervical cancer in the future.
He called for support to healthcare authorities as well as professionals to get rid of the killer disease.
Also speaking, the Chief Medical Director, Enugu State University Teaching Hospital, ESUTH, Parklane, Prof Bethrand Ngwu, assured the dedication of the medical institution to serving the people with professionalism, medical ethics, accountability and punctuality in order to ensure that the vision and mission of the current administration is optimally achieved.
He said the hospital was undergoing a total revamping and overhauling process to bring to the level of a first-class medical facility in efficiency, promising of glorious days ahead.
Goodwill messages were delivered by the representatives of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in the state, and a non-govermental organisation, FHI360, who all declared the vaccine safe for the prevention of cervical cancer.