Source: Tanzania Daily News 
PARENTS and guardians in Moshi municipality have been urged to allow their children to undergo vaccination against cervical cancer.

The campaign, which is in its second phase in Kilimanjaro Region and targets girls between nine and 13 years of age in primary schools, has faced a lot of challenges as some parents prevent their children from undergoing it.

Moshi Municipal Council Acting Health Department head, Ms Anastazia Ngowi, said here recently that there was a misconception that the vaccination was aimed at birth control.

Ms Ngowi said there were some people passing around telling others that the vaccination aimed at inflicting barrenness on targeted population.

The vaccination campaign is supported by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and the World Health Organisation (WHO), as a pilot project that would later be rolled out all over the country.

Ms Ngowi said so far out of 2,023 targeted girls from 49 primary schools, 1,817 had received the vaccine. Targeted girls are those in Standard IV, but Ms Ngowi wondered why some people were advising the girls not to participate in the campaign when the disease was so serious. "Cervical cancer is a very dangerous disease that costs lives.

People should come forward and be vaccinated instead of embracing such misguided views. Many women lose their lives in Tanzania and this should be prevented," said the officer.

She said an awareness campaign had been carried out in the municipality but the response had been low. She added that research conducted by WHO had found that three in four women who have been involved in sexual intercourse contract the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

The vaccination campaign started from 5 May, last year, in the first phase and was very successful in Kilimanjaro Region, while the second phase started in November, last year.

In February WHO Representative in Tanzania, Dr Rufaro Chatora, commended the collaboration displayed by different stakeholders and said it had laid a strong foundation towards integrating the vaccine to girls as a routine instead of a campaign and expressed hopes that it would later be rolled out in the whole country.

All seven districts of Kilimanjaro Region were involved in the two rounds of the HPV demonstration project, whose implementation regional, district and council authorities responded to in a sound manner.

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