Over 5 million Girls To Receive Vaccine Against Cervical Cancer In Tanzania 

Tanzania has launched a nationwide campaign to vaccinate over 5 million girls aged 9-14 years against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), the leading cause of cervical cancer.

“Cervical cancer can be prevented. Let us protect our daughters from this devastating disease by ensuring they receive the HPV vaccine,” said the Minister of Health, Ummy Mwalimu, ahead of the “multi-age cohort (MAC) vaccination campaign,”  which aims to protect young girls against the preventable disease.

The large-scale campaign, is spearheaded by the Ministry of Health in partnership with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi), UNICEF, and the World Health Organization (WHO).

While cervical cancer remains a significant threat, claiming the lives of over 6,800 Tanzanian women in 2022 alone, the HPV vaccine offers a powerful shield against this disease.The campaign will offer eligible girls a single dose of the HPV vaccine free of charge.

This strategy aligns with recent advancements in HPV vaccination research, demonstrating the effectiveness of a single dose for this age group. Previously, the national routine immunization program included a two-dose HPV vaccine for 14-year-old girls. While coverage for the first dose reached 79%, ensuring girls received the complete two-dose schedule remained a challenge. This new campaign addresses this gap by offering wider accessibility and a streamlined vaccination process.

The Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) has pledged additional resources to ensure 86 million girls worldwide receive the HPV vaccine by 2025. Tanzania’s MAC campaign aligns perfectly with this ambitious goal.

The campaign will strategically coincide with African Vaccination Week and World Immunization Week, taking place from April 24th to 30th. During this critical period, health officials will leverage existing infrastructure – schools, health facilities, and community centers – to not only administer HPV vaccines but also provide comprehensive health education workshops for girls.

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