Health Department holds Sensitization Programme on HPV Vaccination Campaign

Gangtok, 25 July (IPR): Department of Health Care, Human Services and Family Welfare in association with UNICEF organized State Media Sensitization Workshop on Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Vaccine Campaign with Journalists here at a local hotel today.

The workshop programme was attended by Commissioner cum Secretary of Health Department, Mr. Vishal Chauhan, Director of Health Service, Mr. Uttam Pradhan, State Immunization Officer, Dr. Phumzay Denzongpa, Health Officer of UNICEF, Dr. Maulik Shah, Surveillance Medical Officer, WHO, Dr. Subhendu Kr. Ray and other officials and representatives of State Health Department, WHO and UNICEF.

In his opening remarks, Health Commissioner cum Secretary, Mr. Chauhan said that the introduction of HPV vaccine in Sikkim which is going to be launched shortly targets around 30000 female children across the state between 09-14 years of age making it the largest ever immunization campaign in Sikkim. It aims to protect girl child from cervical cancer and he also informed that the state government has been giving various vaccines in the state like Hepatitis vaccine in 2001, Measles Rubella in 2009 etc which was later implemented by the Government of India as national programmes.

Commissioner cum Secretary, Mr. Chauhan said, “Our government has decided to provide HPV vaccine free of cost to girl child between 09-14 years and the vaccine has been approved by Drug Controller General of India and it was done under strict monitoring of WHO and UNICEF.”

Director Health Services, Dr. Uttam Pradhan said that the HPV vaccine will launch on 30 July 30 and Sikkim will become the first State in India to cover the entire districts. Earlier, Punjab undertook it as a pilot project in districts but Sikkim will be the first state to be covering all the four districts. He added that the introduction of HPV vaccine in Sikkim is not to become the first state in the race but to protect girl child from cervical cancer.

Dr Pradhan informed that this vaccine is one of the most cost effective vaccines for protection of girl child from cervical cancer and in more than 70 courtries of the world, this vaccine has been given to girl children from the last 10-15 years.

“The introduction of HPV vaccine in the State will be a huge milestone in the health sector and I am sure other States of India will also follow suit and introduce HPV vaccine in their states. Health Department is confident that this vaccine is well tested and it has been backed by WHO and UNICEF,” said Dr. Pradhan.

Dr. Maulik Shah, Health Officer UNICEF (North East States) spoke about the facts about Immunization and HPV vaccine.

Dr. Phumzey, State Immunization Officer said that HPV vaccination will be implemented in one go approach in the whole state and all the schools (both Government and Private) will be covered altogether.

Surveillance Medical Officer of WHO, Dr. S.K Ray, informed that WHO has recommended HPV vaccination for girls between 9-14 years old. He also informed that WHO recommends the two doses of vaccine should be separated by a minimum interval of 6 months, and no more than 12-15 months. HPV vaccine will be available in all District Hospitals, Primary Health Centers (PHCs), Community health centers (CHCs) and PHSCs.

The workshop programme ended with open discussion between official of health department, UNICEF and WHO.

Vote of thanks was proposed by Joint Director, IEC Division, Dr. Diki Bhutia.

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