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UAP, Gertrude’s in joint cervical cancer vaccine drive

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Insurance firm UAP Old Mutual has partnered with Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital to allow scheme members access the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in a move to boost uptake.

The one-year deal targets over 6,000 girls aged between 10 and 14 years at Gertrude’s 16 branches countrywide.

HPV vaccine works by preparing the body to fight the viral infection that cause cervical cancer which is the leading cause of cancer death in Kenyan women.

The HPV vaccine was introduced in the country in 2019 and is offered at public hospitals at no cost. Private hospitals however charge from Sh20,000 a dose.

“If we achieve significant uptake of the vaccine, we can drastically reduce the incidence of cervical cancer,” UAP Old Mutual health business general manager Japheth Ogalloh said yesterday.

The HPV vaccive which comprises two injections taken six months apart should ideally be administered to girls and women before they become sexually active and exposed to HPV.

Gertrude’s chief executive Robert Nyarango said the biggest challenge with prevention of HPV infection is lack of information.

“We call upon every parent with a preteen child to partner with us to protect our children against HPV infection and in so doing protect them from a number of cancers caused by HPV,” he said.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that comprehensive cervical cancer control should include primary prevention (vaccination against HPV), secondary prevention (screening and treatment of pre-cancerous lesions), tertiary prevention (diagnosis and treatment of invasive cervical cancer) and palliative care.