Paediatric Association of Nigeria

Date Published

Paediatricians express support for Nigeria’s HPV vaccination rollout



Past President, Peadiatric Association of Nigeria (PAN), Professor Olufemi Ogunrinde, said cervical cancer is a major cause of death in women, and therefore the need to ensure the girl-child is vaccination as a preventive measure.

Professor Ogunrinde, who spoke at the opening of a one-day Southwest regional immunisation champions workshop by PAN in conjunction with the International Paediatric Association, said PAN was interested in the human pappiloma virus (HPV) vaccine roll out across the country as a preventive measure against cervical cancer in adulthood.

“HPV is an important cause of cervical cancer that afflicts adult women and penile cancer that afflicts men. Women are more at risk of having HPV, and cervical cancer is a prominent cause of death in Nigeria.

“PAN is interested in Nigeria’s HPV vaccination rollout because the preventive measure for this cancer starts at an early age. We need to get the girl-child vaccinated between the ages of 9 and 14 so that they can be protected against cancer when they are older.

“Since children are our main constituency, we need to protect them. Vaccination is a proven way of preventing illnesses, and cervical cancer is also a preventable illness.

We encourage all parents to trust us as paediatricians and get their children vaccinated. We, as doctors, cannot go about prescribing what is dangerous for our children. So they should have faith in us, trust us, and get their children vaccinated.”

Dr Temitope Ayeni, a consultant paediatrician at the Uniosun teaching hospital in Osogbo, said a randomised control trial assessing a single-dose HPV vaccination strategy showed it to be highly effective in preventing persistent vaccine-type cancer-causing HPV infections.

“Compared to no vaccination, single-dose HPV vaccination will lead to a substantial reduction in cervical cancer and is a high public health intervention. Reaching more girls with a single dose will avert a much greater number of cervical cancer cases than vaccinating fewer girls with two drops.”

Dr Oladele Olatunya, also a consultant paediatrician at the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado-Ekiti, said the HPV vaccine was the latest addition of vaccines added to routine immunisation in Nigeria by the government and urged health workers to complement the government’s effort to ensure Nigerians are educated about the vaccine.

Earlier, Oyo State Health Commissioner, Dr Oluwaserimi Ajetunmobi, in her welcome address, said Oyo State, in collaboration with development partners, has taken significant steps to ensure the completion of pre-implementation activities for the rollout of the HPV vaccination programme in the state for the shared goal of a healthier, more resilient society.

“Every child vaccinated represents a future free from preventable diseases and untold suffering. Let us redouble our efforts and commitment to immunisation, knowing that our collective actions today will shape the health outcomes of generations to come.”