Vaccination against cervical cancer; pilot project to be launched in Wayanad and Alappuzha

The Government has issued an order (GO) mandating to administer the HPV Vaccine to female students of Plus One and Plus Two classes through the schools of the Alappuzha and Wayanad districts. Photo: iStock/ericsphotography

Alappuzha: In a major step aimed at eradicating cervical cancer, Kerala will launch a vaccination programme for plus one and plus two girl students in Alappuzha and Wayanad. The Health Department has issued an order approving the road map for the eradication of cervical cancer and to launch the vaccination programme for female students in two districts on a pilot basis. The decision to launch the vaccination programme on a pilot basis in Wayanad and Alappuzha was taken in a meeting convened by Health and Family Welfare Minister Veena George with the Cancer board.

In 2021, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan held a meeting in which it was decided to approve the road map for the eradication of cervical cancer, to implement HPV vaccination across the state and to launch the programme on a pilot basis in 2-3 districts subject to the availability of funds. According to the WHO, Cervical cancer develops in a woman's cervix (the entrance to the uterus from the vagina).  Almost all cervical cancer cases (99%) are linked to infection with high-risk human papillomaviruses (HPV), an extremely common virus transmitted through sexual contact. Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women

Commenting on the initiative of the Government, Cochin Cancer Research Center (CCRC) Director-in-Charge Dr P G Balagopal said that a sustained campaign over the years has brought cervical cancer levels in the state under control. “Better hygiene, good health habits, lower childbirth rates, and better sexual habits have contributed to the lowering of cervical cancer incidence in the state to single digits. Kerala can certainly achieve the aim of becoming cervical cancer-free, and the health department personnel are reaching out to remote areas to spread the message and bring the whole state under the protection of the HPV vaccine,” Dr Balagopal said.

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