Kenya is now among the 11 African counties that have integrated the HPV vaccine in their health system. This comes after today H.E Uhuru Kenyatta alongside Governor Hassan Joho officially launched the cervical cancer vaccine in Mombasa today. The launch of the vaccine has been put off a number of times, and has received backlash from certain religious fronts.
The vaccine will now be availed to 10-year-old girls across the country, and will be administered in a bid to lower the number of new cervical cancer cases. The vaccine is administered in order to prepare the body to fight infections caused the cancer-causing HPV strains. It is best given before prior exposure to the virus. This is why it was opted to be availed to 10-year-old girls, as they are deemed less likely to be sexually active.
Cervical cancer is the most common cancer among women in Kenya today, coming after breast cancer.New cases have been on the rise, with 4,800 cases reported resulting in 2,400 fatalities. In saw a marked increase in the cervical cancer cases with 3,280 of the 5,250 reported cases succumbing to the disease.
Relation between HPV and Cervical Cancer
99% of the women who had been diagnosed with cervical cancer were found to have been exposed to the Human Papillomavirus, otherwise known as HPV. HPV comes in different strains, the HPV 6, 11 which often result in genital warts and the HPV 16 and 18 which can be linked to 60% of the cervical cancer infections.