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After many false starts, the roll-out of human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine will finally start next month.

Dr Collins Tabu, head of National Vaccines and Immunisation Programme in the Ministry of Health hinted at this during a media briefing in Nairobi yesterday.

“Launching of the vaccination programme needs proper planning to ensure sustainability and continuity,” said Dr Tabu.

The immunisation drive will target girls aged 10 years and hopes to reach 800,000 girls in schools. The learners will be given two doses spread within six months.

Dr Mary Nyangasi Head of Kenya Cancer Control Programme said cases of cancer of the cervix have been increasing.

“In Kenya, most patients with cervical cancer present late and this leads to a lot of costs in treatment; if we can prevent then it means we shall use less compared to what could have been spent to treat in future,” said Dr Nyangasi.

HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer at 99 per cent and health professionals argue that the best bet against it is through vaccination.

Dr Tabu said the vaccine has been used in Kenya for 20 years and this is just the massive roll-out by getting it into the routine immunisation programme.

Two types of HPV – 16 and 18 – are the most responsible for causing cervical cancer that kills nine women in Kenya every day, according to the ministry.   

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