New Delhi: Delhi has become the first state in the country to launch ‘Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination’ as a public health programme for preventing cervical cancer among young girls.
As part of the programme, girls aged between 11-13 years will be vaccinated free of cost at Delhi State Cancer Institute (DSCI) through its setups in east and west Delhi.
“The girls shall be vaccinated twice at an interval of 6-12 months. The programme has initially been started from the Delhi State Cancer Institute. After working out the logistics further, we will take the help of School Health program and Mohalla Clinics to ensure that no girl in Delhi is left out from the vaccination process,” R K Grover, Director, DSCI said.
A total of 150 girls were vaccinated yesterday as part of the programme, he said.
Human Papilloma virus (HPV) is a common sexually transmitted infection which causes cervical cancer.
In India, 1,22,844 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 67,477 die from the ailment every year, according to the HPV India Report 2015 (HPV R-2015).
Cervical cancer ranks as the second most common cancer among women between 15 and 44 years of age, the report said.
“Thus, we lose one mother every 8 minutes because of cervical cancer in our country, that too at an age when her contribution is extremely important for her family as well as for the society,” Grover said.
Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain had announced the programme in March.
The vaccine is already included as part of regular Immunization Program in over 70 countries, including the neighboring nations of Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Malaysia etc.