HPV vaccination to begin in State from 30 Jul Will become first State in India to implement state-wi

Gangtok, 25 Jul:

Department of Health Care, Human Services & Family Welfare will be launching the Human Papilloma Virus [HPV] vaccination programme in Sikkim from 30 July. The programmetargets around 30,000 female children across the State between 09-14 years of age.

With this, Sikkim will become the first State in the country to implement a state-wide HPV vaccination programme.

In this context, the Health Department in association with UNICEF organized State Media Sensitization Workshop on Human Papilloma Virus [HPV] Vaccine Campaign with Journalists here at a local hotel in Gangtok today, a press release informs.

The workshop programme was attended by Commissioner cum Secretary, Health Department, Vishal Chauhan, Director, Health Service, UttamPradhan, State Immunization Officer, DrPhumzayDenzongpa, Health Officer, UNICEF, DrMaulik Shah, Surveillance Medical Officer, WHO, DrSubhendu K Ray, and other officials and representatives of State Health Department, WHO and UNICEF.

Health Commissioner cum Secretary, M. Chauhan,informed that it will be the largest ever immunization campaign in Sikkim. The programmeaims to protect girl child from cervical cancer and he also informed that the state government has been giving various vaccines in the state like Hepatitis vaccine in 2001, Measles Rubella in 2009,etc which was later implemented by the Government of India as national programmes, he added.

“Our government has decided to provide HPV vaccine free of cost to girl children between 09-14 years and the vaccine has been approved by Drug Controller General of India and it was done under strict monitoring of WHO and UNICEF,” said MrChauhan.

Director Health Services, DrPradhan, said, “Earlier, Punjab undertook it as a pilot project in districts but Sikkim will be the first State to be covering all the four districts.”

He further said that HPV vaccine in Sikkim is being introduced not to achieve the status of being the first State in the race but to protect girl children from cervical cancer.

“This vaccine is one of the most cost effective vaccines for protection of girl children from cervical cancer and in more than 70 countries of the world, this vaccine has been given to girl children since past 10-15 years. The introduction of HPV vaccine in the State will be a huge milestone in the health sector and I am sure other States of India will also follow suit and introduce HPV vaccine in their respective States. Health department is confident that this vaccine is well tested and it has been backed by WHO and UNICEF,” said DrPradhan.

Health Officer, UNICEF [NE States],Dr Shah, gave a brief about the facts about immunization and HPV vaccine.

State Immunization Officer, DrDenzongpa, said that HPV vaccination will be implemented in one-go approach in the State and all the schools, both government and private, will be covered.

Surveillance Medical Officer, WHO, Dr Ray, informed that WHO has recommended HPV vaccination for girls between 09-14 years old. He added that WHO recommends that the two doses of vaccine should be separated by a minimum interval of six months and no more than 12-15 months.

HPV vaccine will be available in all District Hospitals, Primary Health Centres, Community Health Centres and Primary Health Sub Centres.UNICEF is providing the vaccine at Rs 400 while the real cost of the vaccine is Rs 3000. The cost has been discounted for developing countries, it was informed.

The workshop programme ended with open discussion between officials of Health Department, UNICEF and WHO.