The First Lady, Mrs Oluremi Tinubu, has expressed deep concern over the alarming prevalence of cervical cancer in Nigeria.
Mrs Tinubu spoke on Tuesday during the national launch of the introduction of the HPV Vaccine into the routine immunization schedule of the National Immunization Program in Abuja.
According to a statement by her media aide, Busola Kukoyi, she underscored that the initiative extends beyond the mere introduction of the vaccine into the routine immunization schedule.
She said there must also be a concerted focus on education and raising awareness about the virus.
Senator Tinubu stressed the importance of encouraging regular screenings and improving access to healthcare through behavioural interventions.
“I strongly recommend that girls who are under 18 years of age and sexually active take advantage of this vaccine to avoid a future marred by ill-health or possibly death,” she stated.
She emphasised that the introduction of the HPV vaccine into Nigeria’s routine immunization schedule represents a significant stride in their mission to safeguard the health and future of the nation’s women, ultimately paving the way for a generation free from cervical cancer.
Senator Tinubu pointed out that the initiative transcends cervical cancer prevention, symbolising the President Bola Tinubu administration’s commitment to gender equity and empowering women to take control of their health.
Addressing the gathering earlier, the Coordinating Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Mohammed Ali Pate, stressed the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, which is already in use in several countries worldwide.
He highlighted that any informed parent who understands the potential to prevent a severe disease would not hesitate to have their daughters receive the vaccine.
Prominent figures such as the Sultan of Sokoto, Abubakar Sa’ad III, and the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Archbishop Daniel Okoh, voiced their support for the vaccination campaign.
They lauded the authorities for introducing a vaccine that promises to safeguard the health of Nigerian girls and women in the future.
The Country Director of the World Health Organization (WHO), Walter Mulombo, acknowledged cervical cancer as a global concern, praising Nigerian authorities for launching the HPV vaccine.
The event also witnessed messages of support from UNICEF and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
A notable highlight of the occasion was the administration of the HPV vaccine to Nigerian girls, symbolising a significant step in the fight against cervical cancer.