Vaccination, critical in averting diseases caused by HPV- Stakeholders

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By Abujah Racheal

Stakeholders in the health sector have emphasised the role of vaccination in averting diseases caused by Human Papillomavirus (HPV).

They also stressed the need to vaccinate girls aged nine to 14 years against the virus, and promote mental well-being of Nigerians.

They made these calls during an advocacy event held at the Anguwan Hausawa Community, Apo, on Saturday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event was organised by Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI), the Vaccine Network for Disease Control (VNDC), and the Nigerian Psychological Association, FCT chapter.

Mrs Chika Offor, the Founder of VNDC, highlighted the critical role of vaccination in averting HPV-related diseases, notably cervical cancer.

Offor emphasised the imperative of early immunisation as proactive measure against HPV-related cancers.

She acknowledged obstacles hindering high vaccination coverage rate in the country, citing lack of enough awareness, cultural beliefs, and logistic challenges.

She, however, added that “we are steadfast in our commitment to educate communities about the benefits of HPV vaccination and dispelling misconceptions.

“By targeting girls between the ages of nine and 14, Nigeria can optimise vaccine efficacy and substantially diminish susceptibility to HPV-related ailments.”

In addition to advocating for vaccination, the event addressed the issue of mental health in the community.

Dr Jurbe Bisji, the Assistant General-Secretary of the Nigerian Psychological Association (NPA), highlighted the role of community support in nurturing mental well-being.

Bisji advocated for open dialogue, supportive environment and resource exchange to foster emotional resilience.

He said “as individuals navigate the complexities of modern life, community support serves as  cornerstone in promoting mental wellness.”

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Prof. Emmanuel Alhassan, Nigeria’s Coordinator for Prevent Epidemics/Immunisation Programmes at GHAI, said that education, particularly for girls, is catalyst for societal progress and economic prosperity.

Alhassan, who is also an Associate Professor of Psychology at Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK), encouraged the community to invest in girls’ education, noting its transformative impact to future generations and the broader community.

He added that “empowering girls through education not only unlocks their potential but fosters societal growth and development.”

Meanwhile, Dr Mustapha Lecky, Coordinator of the Health Sector Reform Coalition (HSRC), emphasised the need to improve health insurance coverage in Nigerian communities.

He explained that “the Giftship Programme, highlighted in the National Health Insurance is ideal for community health coverage.

“It’s necessary for officials of health insurance to engage communities through local leaders, schools and religious places to raise awareness.”

Lecky proposed leveraging senators and community resources to sponsor health insurance for  communities.

He urged politicians to take practical steps in profiling communities and collaborating with NHIA to bring health services to communities.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu

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