Friday February 21, 2020

Kenya Starts Mass Vaccination of Girls against Human Papilloma Virus

President Uhuru Kenyatta termed the vaccine roll-out a major milestone in the fight

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Kenya, Vaccination, Girls
FILE - Children watch as another child is vaccinated in the town of Liboi, Kenya, July 27, 2011. Kenyan authorities on Friday launched a mass vaccination program against the human papilloma virus, or HPV. VOA

Kenyan authorities have begun a mass vaccination of girls against the human papilloma virus, HPV, which causes cervical cancer. According to the World Health Organization, the East Africa region has the highest rate of cervical cancer in the world. Kenya.

Kenya officially launched its HPV vaccination program Friday in the coastal town of Mombasa.

The vaccine will be administered free to all 10-year-old girls as part of the country’s routine immunization schedule. Girls will get the vaccine in two doses, six months apart.

President Uhuru Kenyatta termed the vaccine roll-out a major milestone in the fight against non-communicable diseases.

Kenya, Vaccination, Girls
The vaccine will be administered free to all 10-year-old girls as part of the country’s routine immunization schedule. Girls will get the vaccine in two doses, six months apart. VOA

“Access to the HPV vaccine by our girls will lead to the reduction of number of new cervical cancer cases and secure lives of our daughters and sisters,” he said. “This means that our young women who are critical to the future of our nation will be protected from early deaths.”

Kenya’s Ministry of Health says the vaccinations will cost about $7.7 million this year.

Dr. Collins Tabu, head of the National Vaccine Immunization Program in Kenya, touted the benefits of the program in a talk with reporters.

“The introduction of HPV vaccine within our setup has potential to cut back the burden of cervical cancer by close to 70 percent,” Tabu said. “If we achieve a good enough coverage, of about 80 percent.”

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He said at least seven women die every day through cervical cancer in Kenya.

“The human papilloma virus, the most common sexually transmitted disease with a prevalence of close to 50 percent within our borders, is the primary cause of more than 99 percent of all of the cervical cancers. There is a direct link, as we know today,” he said.

At least 115 other countries routinely administer the vaccine, including Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. Tabu said because of the vaccine, Rwanda has nearly eliminated cervical cancer.

Kenya has moved more slowly, possibly because of debates around the safety of vaccines.  Earlier this decade, the Catholic Church in Kenya called for a boycott of a polio vaccination drive.

Kenya, Vaccination, Girls
Kenya officially launched its HPV vaccination program Friday in the coastal town of Mombasa. Pixabay

“It’s a bit embarrassing that Kenya may be the last or second last East African country to introduce the vaccine that is supposed to protect our girls against cervical cancer,” Tabu said.

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During Friday’s launch, Kenyatta dismissed claims the HPV vaccine might be unsafe, telling the crowd, “Let us not fight science.” (VOA)

Next Story

Know Why Parents Should Worry About Their Daughters’ Perfect Selfies

Why parents should worry about girls' perfect selfies

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Adolescent girls who invest a lot of time in editing and selecting the selfies to post are mostly body insecure. Pixabay

Parents, please take note. Researchers have recently found that adolescent girls who invest a lot of time in editing and selecting the perfect selfie may feel more body shame and appearance anxiety.

Published in the Journal of Children and Media, the research showed that when adolescent girls spend too much time agonising over which photo of themselves to post, or rely heavily on editing apps to alter their images, there may be a cause for concern.

The study found that selfie editing and time invested in creating and selecting the perfect one, were both related to self-objectification, which led to body shame, appearance anxiety and more negative appearance evaluations in teen girls.

“Our main finding was that we really shouldn’t be too worried about kids who take selfies and share them; that’s not where the negative effects come from. It’s the investment and the editing that yielded negative effects,” said senior study author Jennifer Stevens Aubrey from University of Arizona in the US.

“Selfie editing and selfie investment predicted self-objectification, and girls who self-objectify were more likely to feel shameful about their bodies or anxious about their appearance,” Aubrey added. The findings were based on a study of 278 teenage girls, ages 14 to 17.

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“Our main finding was that we really shouldn’t be too worried about kids who take selfies and share them; that’s not where the negative effects come from,” said the researchers. Pixabay

They also responded to a series of statements designed to measure how much time and effort they spend selecting which selfies to share on social media – what researchers referred to in the paper as their level of “selfie investment.”

In addition, the girls completed a series of questionnaires designed to measure their levels of self-objectification and appearance concerns. The researchers said they chose to focus on adolescent girls because they are especially vulnerable to self-objectification.

Girls also are more likely than boys to experience negative consequences, such as body image issues, as the result of self-objectification, which can in turn lead to problems like depression and eating disorders, the researchers said. “Self-objectification is the pathway to so many things in adolescence that we want to prevent,” Aubrey said.

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The researchers said parents and caregivers of adolescent girls should be aware of red flags on teens’ phones, such as selfie editing apps or camera rolls teeming with selfies. If a teen seems to be selfie-obsessed, it might be time for a talk, they added. (IANS)