Cervical cancer vaccine launched

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Senate Lerotholi

Women should seek cervical cancer services as early as possible because it is one of the most treatable forms of cancer when detected early and managed effectively, Her Majesty, Queen ‘Masenate Mohato Bereng Seeiso has said.

She was speaking in Butha-Buthe, Likileng this week during the launch of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, targeting girls aged between nine and 14 years.

‘‘As these girls are minors who stay under the guardianship of parents, it is therefore important that all of us play a critical role in ensuring that they access the HPV vaccine. If all of us can positively contribute to this campaign and mobilise as many girls as possible, more girls will be safe from this dreadful disease,’’ ‘Masenate said.

She stressed the importance of young girls acquiring knowledge that would enable them to prevent cervical cancer. This included avoiding indulging in sexual activities at very young ages, she said.

Hopefully, Lesotho would be able to sustain the vaccination campaign launched by the Ministry of Health and leave no girl behind, she said.

Health Minister Semano Sekatle said there are many diseases that affect women, thus increasing their chances of contracting cervical cancer.

He noted that women living with HIV/AIDS are at greater risk of having cervical cancer than those who are AIDS-free.

‘It’s not only cervical cancer but also breast cancer that affects women. We need to stand together as a nation to fight these diseases,” Mr Sekatle said.

World Health Organisation (WHO) representative, Richard Banda said the vaccination programme is an important milestone in the country’s quest to eliminate the cancer scourge and attain its sustainable development goals.

He pointed out that cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers globally.

‘‘HPV is the virus that causes cervical cancer but it is preventable by vaccination. It is an important milestone because Lesotho joins the rest of the rest in working towards preventing deaths and illnesses caused by this disease.’’ Dr Banda said.

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