The health departments of the City of Johannesburg and the Gauteng Provincial Government have embarked on a joint month-long campaign to vaccinate nine-year-old girls in Grade 4 at both public and special schools against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).
The vaccination campaign, which includes a deworming intervention, started on Tuesday February 21 and will be wound up on March 28. It is the first of a two-part annual drive to prevent cervical cancer among learners and to protect them against worm infestations. The second dose, HPV2, will take place from August 22 to September 27. Cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women worldwide.
The campaign, which is undertaken annually under the theme “Protecting South African Girls against Cancer of the Cervix”, started in 2014. Almost 80% of cervical cancers are caused by the HPV. The virus can infect the genital area and cause a genital wart or cervical and other cancers.
The vaccination prevents the virus from developing on the cervix. Though there is no cure for HPV infection, some of the problems it causes can be treated.
“The City of Johannesburg’s Department of Health officials will visit public and special education schools during the campaign to administer free HPV vaccination to girls that are nine years old and are in Grade 4 in 2017,” says Cllr Mpho Phalatse.