Source: Tanzania Daily News
KiIimanjaro Region has been chosen by the government as a trial field for vaccination against cervical cancer. The exercise will be conducted on girls aged between nine and 13 years.

The trial vaccination will be carried out in all five districts in the region and will involve girls, including those who attend schools.

This was said here at the weekend by the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Donan Mmbando, during a public awareness campaign on the trial vaccination which was attended by health and education officials, chairpersons of district councils as well as district commissioners of Moshi, Rombo, Siha and Hai.

Reading a speech on behalf of the CMO, the Director of Prevention Services in the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Dr Neema Rusibamayila, said that medical practitioners in the district will lay out strategies on how the vaccination process will be done.

The initiative will later be rolled out countrywide. "Statistics at the Ocean Road Cancer Institute in Dar es Salaam show that as of the year 2009 over 30 per cent of patients who were admitted there were suffering from cervical cancer," the director said on behalf of the CMO.

The CMO went on to note that statistics also show that women who have HIV/AIDS are at higher risks of suffering from cervical cancer compared to those who are not.

Speaking at the event, the World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative, Dr Rufaro Chataro, said that Tanzania is among five countries in the African continent which have been affected by cervical cancer.

Dr Chataro said it was because of such high prevalence of the disease that the WHO in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare decided to undertake vaccination for girls between the ages of nine and 13, most of whom are schooling.

"Since we do not have the exact figure on the number of girls in need of the vaccination we thought it was ideal to start with this age group," Dr Chataro explained. The WHO representative noted that as of 2008, there were 53,000 deaths associated with cervical cancer in the African continent.

The statistics show also that deaths caused by the cancer are ten times more in developing countries as compared to those in developed world, among women below 64 years.

Gracing the meeting, Kilimanjaro Regional Commissioner Leonidas Gama said that the region was chosen for treatment but rather vaccination of cervical cancer before the service is spread to other parts of the country.

The RC directed district commissioners and chairpersons of district councils to educate the public on the vaccination against misleading information. He stressed that the vaccination has been proved to be safe scientifically.

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