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Strengthening the fight for an HPV-free future

The government, healthcare industry, parents and their daughters continue the fight for a human papillomavirus (HPV)-free future through the HPV school-based immunization program (SBIP) recently launched by the Department of Health (DoH).  
The HPV immunization initiative was previously implemented through a community-based approach but recently shifted to SBIP to expand its scope and be able to concentrate efforts to reach more target beneficiaries and vaccinate 720,000 young girls aged 9 to 13 years old all over the Philippines.  
The regional launches of the SBIP started in August which is hailed School-Based Immunization Month by the DoH. The inaugural vaccinations were held in Nueva Ecija, Zambales and Pampanga – provinces that were recently included in the national immunization program that now covered 56 provinces and key cities, from a previous count of 20 key provinces.
In Region 3, over 400 Grade 4 females from public elementary schools received their first of two doses of quadrivalent HPV vaccine. The second dose will be administered in the beneficiary schools after six months.  
The SBIP launch in Nueva Ecija was held at the Guimba East Central Elementary School, where an initial 103 girls received the vaccination. The event was led by Rep. Estrelita Suansing; Dr. Ronaldo Pozon, Schools Division Superintendent; Dr. Caesar Lopez, Department of Education (DepEd) District Supervisor; Mayor Jose Dizon; and Dr. Benjamin Lopez, Provincial Health Officer.  
“I already had the HPV vaccine together with my daughter. I personally support this program because it takes the modern healthcare benefit of immunization easier to attain for young women and prevent unnecessary suffering caused by HPV infection such as cervical cancer,” noted Suansing.  
For the Zambales rendition of the regional launch, about 200 girls from 13 schools were given vaccination at the San Felipe Multi-Purpose Hall. The event was led by Mayor Carolyn Fariñas, together with Dr. Salome Arinduque, Municipal Health Officer; Dr. Maila Rostrata, DOH Region III Non-Communicable Diseases Cluster Head; and Dr. Editha Divino, Provincial Health Officer.  
“Taking the HPV immunization in schools helps us ensure that no one gets left behind in the fight against HPV. Health should always be a priority, hence, we at Zambales are thankful for this initiative that helps us promote our health governance agenda,” said Fariñas. San Felipe, Zambales is a recipient of the “Champions for Health Governance Award” this year, conferred by the Kaya Natin Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership, Jesse M. Robredo Foundation, and biopharmaceutical company MSD in the Philippines.  
Meanwhile, 107 girls were vaccinated in Mexico Elementary School at Mexico, Pampanga in a ceremonial vaccination led by Dr. Imaculada Labrador, Provincial Health Officer; Dr. Imee David from the DoH; and Sheila Ann Esteban, Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) Nurse Coordinator at DoH Region III.  
The SBIP is a result of the DoH’s intensified efforts to uphold healthcare and quality of life for all Filipinos, as it works with DepEd and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), as well as other stakeholder groups to address the healthcare issue of HPV which causes over 90 percent of cervical cancer cases among women.  
Cervical cancer is the second leading cause of death among Filipino women, next only to breast cancer. A sexually transmitted infection, HPV also causes genital warts, and other malignancies such as anal and oropharynx cancer in both men and women, vaginal and vulvar cancer in women, and penile cancer in men.
HPV vaccination is recommended to be administered to girls aged 9 to 13 years old, as this is the period when beneficiaries have optimum immune resistance to HPV before exposure to the virus. The quadrivalent HPV vaccine used by the DoH in its immunization program is available in more than 130 countries globally, with many countries also utilizing this as part of their national immunization programs.
Aside from the regional events, the National Capital Region launch of the SBIP was also recently held at Addition Hills Integrated School in Mandaluyong City. Prior to the inaugural activities, the local governments of Nueva Ecija, Zambales, and Pampanga, as well as Mandaluyong City, obtained parents’ consent to have their daughters vaccinated through orientations on HPV and awareness sessions enforcing the importance of protecting their daughters’ futures through immunization.

2 comments

  • vg

    This is another vaccine that is questionable. We are inoculating 9 to 13 years to prevent sexually transmitted diseases?

    vg Friday, 08 December 2017 07:27 Comment Link
  • vg

    This is another vaccine that is questionable. We are inoculating 9 to 13 years to prevent sexually transmitted diseases?

    vg Friday, 08 December 2017 07:20 Comment Link

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