As the importance of Human Papillomavirus Vaccination (HPV) is being stressed upon by health experts globally, Delhi makes its mark by becoming the first state in India to launch the vaccine as a public health program.
Health Minister Satyendra Jain announced that the government plans to vaccinate over one lakh school girls through this program with the aim of eradicating cervical cancer in Delhi.
‘Delhi becomes the first state in the country to launch the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine as a public health program for school children.’
"Girl students studying in Class VI will be vaccinated this year. From next year, we aim to vaccinate all the girls in the age-group of 9-13 years. In the next three to four months, we will begin the first phase of the vaccination program in Delhi. This year, we are starting with only Class VI girl students. In the next year, our target is to include all girls between the age of 9 and 13. I think we will eradicate cervical cancer from Delhi first in India," said Jain.
In this year, the program aims to target girls in all government schools, while in the next even private schools will be covered. Children will be given two doses of the vaccine. The first phase will start in July-August and the second phase will be completed by January-February.
Dr.R K Grover, director of the Delhi state cancer institute, which will be coordinating the program, said, "Almost 80 percent of cervical cancers can be prevented with the HPV vaccine. This program has already been adopted in 150 countries. Delhi will be the first state in India to replicate this."
Human papillomavirus vaccine is not manufactured in India and, therefore, the government is planning to purchase the vaccine directly from private pharmaceutical companies. HPV can protect children against a group of viruses that can cause cervical cancer.