Gangtok, July 25 : Sikkim is set to become the first state in India to introduce Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine across all its districts.
The HPV vaccination campaign will be launched on July 30 across all the four districts of the state simultaneously.
Girls between the age group of 9-14 years will be given vaccination with direct coordination from UNICEF.
In this regard, a daylong State Level Media Sensitization Workshop on HPV Vaccination Campaign was organized by the State Health Department in association with UNICEF at a local hotel in Sichey today.
The workshop was attended by Commissioner cum Secretary of Health Department, Vishal Chauhan, Director of Health Service, Uttam Pradhan, State Immunization Officer, Dr. Phumzay Denzonpa, Health Officer of UNICEF, Dr. Maulik Shah, Surveillance Medical Officer, WHO, Dr. Subhendu Kr. Ray and other officials and representatives of State Health Department and UNICEF.
The workshop was held with the objective of sensitizing the media personnel with the necessity and effectiveness of the HPV vaccination in preventing cervical cancer in women.
Delivering the opening remarks, Health Commissioner cum Secretary, Vishal Chauhan informed that Sikkim will become the first state in India to introduce HPV vaccination which aims to protect girl child from cervical cancer. He further added that the HPV vaccination programme is an international level programme running across 70 countries of the world.
“The government has decided to provide HPV vaccine free of cost to girl child between 9-14 years. The vaccine has been approved by Drug Controller General of India and the vaccination campaign will be conducted under strict monitoring from WHO and UNICEF,” he informed.
Director Health Services, Dr. Uttam Pradhan while announcing the launch date of the vaccination campaign stated that it is one of the most cost effective ways to save a girl child from cancer.
Dr. Phumzey, State Immunization Officer informed that the campaign will cover all the schools across Sikkim and two doses of vaccine will be given to female students between 9-14 years old separated by a minimum interval of 6 months but not more than 12-15 months.
Surveillance Medical Officer of WHO, Dr. S.K Ray informed that the HPV vaccine will be available in all the District Hospitals, Primary Health Centers (PHCs) and Community Health Centers (CHCs).