The government has asked all states and Union Territories to create awareness on prevention of cervical cancer, the importance of HPV vaccine among girl and organise vaccination camps in schools.
The Education and Health Ministry, in a joint letter, have informed states and UTs that the National Technical Advisory Group for Immunization (NTAGI) has recommended introduction of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in the Universal Immunization Programme with a one-time catch-up for 9-14 year-old adolescent girls followed with routine introduction at nine years.
“Globally, cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women. In India, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women and India contributes the largest proportion of global cervical cancer burden.
“Cervical cancer is a preventable and curable disease as long as it is detected early and managed effectively,” said the letter written by Union Education Secretary Sanjay Kumar and Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan.
“Most cervical cancers are associated with the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and the HPV vaccine can prevent most cases of cervical cancer if it is given before girls or women are exposed to the virus.
“Prevention through vaccination is one of the pillars of the global strategy adopted by World Health Organisation for the elimination of cervical cancer,” it added.
Sharing details about the immunization programme, the letter further said the vaccination would be provided primarily through schools (grade based approach: class 5-10) as school enrolment of girls is high.
“In order to reach those girls who are unable to attend school on the campaign day, the vaccination would be provided at a health facility while for out-of-school girls the campaign would be conducted through community outreach and mobile teams based on age (9-14 years).
“For registration, recording and reporting of vaccination numbers, the U-WIN App would be used,” it said.
The states and UTs have been asked to organise HPV vaccinations in schools, identify a nodal person in each school to coordinate vaccination activities, collate the number of 9-14 years of girls in the school, bulk upload the same in U-WIN and generate awareness through school teachers to all parents during Special Parent Teacher Meetings.
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