Mozambique to introduce cervical cancer vaccine

Health Minister Alexandre Manguele announced on Tuesday that Mozambique will next year introduce a vaccine against the human papilloma virus (HPV) that is responsible for the majority of cases of cervical cancer.

Speaking to journalists in New York, Manguele said that the Ministry of Health and the Manhica Health Research Centre (CISM) are currently working together to launch the vaccine. To begin with, the vaccine will be given to children below the age of ten.

The immunisation will mainly be financed by GAVI (the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation), a public-private international health partnership.

According to Manguele, the vaccine is proven to be safe and effective and will prevent the death of many Mozambican women.

He warned that the cost of the vaccine is high, but argued that Mozambique is committed to reducing suffering through the introduction of vaccines.

The minister explained that, under the expanded vaccination programme, a vaccine was introduced this year to prevent respiratory illnesses in children. This has helped reduce infant mortality.

He added that next year the Ministry of Health and its partners are to introduce a vaccine against the human rotavirus that causes severe diarrhoea, a major cause of child mortality.

The minister lamented, “the difficulty in introducing a vaccine is often due to the limited quantity of the vaccine at the international level. Countries compete with each other to persuade the manufacturers to provide the vaccines”.

The minister stressed the need to raise health awareness among men, given that previous programmes have focussed on the health of women and children.

Manguele pointed out the need for more public awareness about prostate cancer so that more men are encouraged to go for screening tests.

On Wednesday, the Forum of African First Ladies will launch in New York a “Global Initiative to Eliminate Cervical Cancer”. First Lady Maria da Luz Guebuza will represent Mozambique.

Post published in: Africa News

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