Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State has officially commenced the routine vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) for the prevention of cervical cancer among women in the state. The Governor emphasized that the vaccine is free of charge and readily available for young girls aged 9 to 14 at all healthcare centers across Enugu State.
Represented by Deputy Governor Ifeanyi Ossai, Governor Mbah highlighted the importance of leveraging scientific advancements to combat preventable cervical cancer in women. “I urge women in churches, places of worship, homes, and schools to embrace this vaccine. I implore you to disregard the false claims against it, as it has been certified as safe by international health authorities,” he stated.
Governor Mbah acknowledged the challenges faced by healthcare professionals in countering the spread of misinformation while delivering the vaccine to those in need. He called for urgent collaboration between healthcare authorities, professionals, and women’s organizations in places of worship to educate the public about the safety of the vaccine.
“We need to explain to them the significant investment the state government has made in preventing preventable diseases,” he added.
Expressing dismay towards individuals without proper medical training who spread false information through social and mainstream media, Governor Mbah warned that the government would take legal action against them. “In 2023, it is unacceptable for anyone without education or a professional license to provide medical opinions. Enugu State is a society governed by laws, and we will not hesitate to bring such individuals to justice,” he affirmed.
Dr. Ifeyinwa Ani-Osheku, Executive Secretary of the Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency, emphasized the rising prevalence of cervical cancer among women and stressed the importance of prevention. She highlighted that cervical cancer is one of the few cancers that can be prevented and commended Enugu State for joining the first phase of the vaccination program, which will be implemented simultaneously in all 17 local government areas.
Prof. Emmanuel Ikechukwu Obi, Commissioner for Health, praised the timely initiation of the vaccination program, noting that prevention efforts will save young girls from future suffering due to cervical cancer. He called for support for healthcare authorities and professionals in their endeavor to eradicate this life-threatening disease.
The Chief Medical Director of Enugu State University Teaching Hospital, Prof. Bethrand Ngwu, assured the commitment of the medical institution to serve with professionalism, medical ethics, accountability, and punctuality. He also highlighted ongoing efforts to revamp and upgrade the hospital to a first-class medical facility, ensuring optimal achievement of the current administration’s vision and mission.
Representatives from the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and non-governmental organization FHI360 delivered goodwill messages, all confirming the safety of the vaccine for the prevention of cervical cancer.