The University of The Gambia Students’ Association of Public and Environmental Health (UTG-SAPEH) takes a step forward to complementing the efforts of the Ministry of Health on their ongoing Human Papillomavirus (HPV) fight against cervical cancer.
It came to the understanding of the association that, the Public Health Officers, Community Health Nurses and other sister cadres in the field are facing some challenges with regards to administering the HPV vaccine to girls (age 9-14 years) due to the fact that misinformation and disinformation about the vaccine has spread all over the media and some parents do not have trust in the vaccine.
In light of the foregoing, SAPEH joins all hands in the fight to protect the girl child against cervical cancer by enlightening parents and other caregivers on the benefits and importance of allowing their children (girls) to be vaccinated.
It is important for the public to know that, cervical cancer is different from coronavirus and that simply tells us that, the cervical cancer vaccine is also different from coronavirus vaccine – but then, the objective of introducing any vaccine is to prevent disease and thus, saving lives. It is crucial for UTG-SAPEH to also let the public know that the Ministry of Health (MoH) – The Gambia, is here to fight all diseases of public health concern and not one disease at a time. This is why, just like there are routine vaccines for Meningitis “tonja kurangõ”, poliomyelitis “lafange kurangõ’, Yellow Fever “jabakatang kurangõ”, Measles “fusiba kurangõ”, etc., there is also a vaccine for cervical cancer. Let us remind ourselves that, vaccines prepare our bodies to prevent us from getting diseases we are vaccinated against.
The simple reason for giving the cervical cancer vaccine (i.e HPV vaccine) to only girls is because, it is the females that have a cervix and not the males. If cervical cancer is cancer of the cervix which is only present in females, it is unthoughtful to request that male children be vaccinated against it. The HPV vaccine does not and cannot make any girl child infertile.
Administering vaccines is a norm in this country—The Gambia. Every month, parents and other caregivers visit public health facilities to have their children vaccinated. If vaccines were deadly, most of us wouldn’t have been alive today because, most of us have been given several vaccines when we were children below 5 years of age – and in some instances, even when we were already adults. Let’s join hands in unison to fight against the deadly and immoral cervical cancer.