MoHS Introduces Human Papiloma Virus Vaccine Strategy

Ministry of Health and Sanitation in a press briefing introduced the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) strategy to eliminate Cervical Cancer nationwide on Tuesday 28th September 2022 at the Youyi Building

Dr. Desmond Maada Kangbaui, Child Health and Expanded Programme on Immunization Manager said the Human Papilloma Virus had been a collection of viruses that were mainly common worldwide; noting that cervical cancer could be one of the causes of Human Papilloma Virus.

He said the immunization routine had been done in several countries across the world.

“In Sierra Leone, we have piloted the vaccine some years back but since then we have been unable to roll out the vaccine and now we want to roll out the vaccine countrywide,” Desmond Maada Kangbaui said.

He revealed that there had been outstanding strategies for eliminating cervical cancer. Amongst them had been collaborating with the primary healthcare sector where 90% of girls age fifteen were fully vaccinated.

He said as part of the secondary strategy, 70% of women between the ages of 35 to 40 and above would be screened to detect early diagnosis of cervical cancer as well as eliminate it going forward; adding that 90% of women identified with cervical cancer disease would be treated as part of the tertiary strategy plan.

Desmond Maada Kangbaui said cervical cancer had been the most frequent cancer among women in Sierra Leone and the second most frequent cancer among women at the age of fifteen to forty-five years.

He said that based on the data collection on cervical cancer 515 new cases were detected and there had as well been 372 death reported.

This tells us that the case of the death rate in Sierra Leone is very high,” he affirmed.

He said in 2013 Ministry of Health and Sanitation had a successful outcome in piloting the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine but this had been not forthcoming in recent times due to the emergence of other related health issues that had engulfed the country.

He stated that starting 3rd October 2022 immunization of the HPV vaccine would commence targeting school girls and women age 35 and above.

Dr. Desmond Maada Kangbaui disclosed that in the process of rolling out the Human Papilloma Virus vaccine they would embark on school outreach as well as community outreach.

He said the target beneficiaries of the HPV vaccine were girls aged ten years, and rolling out of the COVID vaccine for both girls and boys of ten years and above.

“We want to use this campaign to improve our immunization services and coverage across the country,” he said.

He said they had received two hundred and three thousand nine hundred doses in the country which would be expired in 2024 and this had to be part of our immunization services for the benefit of the target age groups.

Dr. Mustapha Kabba, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, and Clinical said at an early age most of the girls had not been exposed to cervical cancer because their sexual intimacies were not met.

He said men could be also exposed to cervical cancer but not at the rate of women.

He said they would be working with the Ministry of Education and community stakeholders for the enhancement of the total percentage as an integrated service.

He said both COVID and the HPV vaccines would be given to girls, boys, and women as multiple immunizations.

“We want to ensure by the time the girls are fifteen years, 90% of them would have received the HPV vaccine,” Dr. Muatapha Kabba said.

Dr. Lynda Farma Grant, Deputy Program Manager at the Child Health and Expanded Programme on Immunization said cervical cancer captured the reproductive tract in women.

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She urged the media to help spread the message to eliminate cervical cancer and creating of awareness among Sierra Leoneans about the immunization process; adding that one of the symptoms had been intermenstrual bleeding.


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