Wednesday November 20, 2019

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

No Gender Difference In Brain Function: Study

No difference in brain activities among both boys and girls

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the research team from Carnegie Mellon University comprehensively examined the brain development of young boys and girls. Pixabay

Researchers have found similar patterns of brain activity in both boys and girls as they engage in basic math problems.

For the study, published in the journal Science of Learning, the research team from Carnegie Mellon University comprehensively examined the brain development of young boys and girls.

Through brain imaging, their research shows no gender difference in brain function or math ability.

“We see that children’s brains function similarly regardless of their gender. So hopefully we can recalibrate expectations of what children can achieve in mathematics,” said study researcher Jessica Cantlon from Carnegie Mellon University in the US.

For the findings, Cantlon and her team conducted the first neuroimaging study to evaluate biological gender differences in the math aptitude of young children.

Her team used functional MRI to measure the brain activity in 104 young children (3-to 10-years-old; 55 girls) while watching an educational video covering early math topics, like counting and addition.

The researchers compared scans from the boys and girls to evaluate brain similarity.

In addition, the team examined brain maturity by comparing the children’s scans to those taken from a group of adults (63 adults; 25 women), who watched the same math videos.

After numerous statistical comparisons, they found no difference in the brain development of girls and boys.

Brain
Through brain imaging, research shows no gender difference in brain function or math ability. Pixabay

In addition, the researchers found no difference in how boys and girls processed math skills and were equally engaged while watching educational videos.

Finally, boys’ and girls’ brain maturity were statistically equivalent when compared to either men or women in the adult group.

The researchers also compared the results of the ‘Test of Early Mathematics Ability’, a standardised test for 3- to 8-year-old children, from 97 participants (50 girls) to gauge the rate of math development.

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They found that math ability was equivalent among the children and did not show a difference in gender or with age. (IANS)