Indeed a proud moment for Sikkim as it will become the first State in the country to launch Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination programme to tackle cervical cancer among women in the State from July 30.
The State health department officials during a sensitization workshop on HPV vaccination held in Gangtok on Wednesday announced the programme and informed that the vaccination would be given to girls aged 9-14 years free of cost to protect them against cervical cancer.
Interacting with media, State immunization officer Phumzay Denzongpa informed that the actual price of HPV is Rs 3,000 but the Central Government has procured the same from UNICEF at Rs 400 and the girls will be vaccinated free of cost. The workshop was conducted by State Health Department and sponsored by UNICEF.
The first vaccination will commence from July 30 in all the schools and girls would be vaccinated with a 15-day period. The second dose will be given in February 2019.
Punjab has also launched a similar programme as pilot project in two districts. But Sikkim is launching the programme statewide.
HPV is the main cause of cervical cancer. It is a common virus, which can be easily spread during sexual activity. Early sexual activity, multiple partners, tobacco use are the risk factors for cervical cancer. Every year, 5.2 lakh new cases are diagnosed with 2.7 lakh resulting in death and over 85 percent of cases and deaths occur in developing countries.