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More than 139k girls get HPV jab

Business

Ntsoaki Motaung

Over 139,000 girls, aged 9 to 14 have received the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine across Lesotho, marking a significant stride in the nation’s healthcare efforts.

This achievement highlighted by Her Majesty Queen ‘Masenate Mohato Seeiso, underscores Lesotho’s commitment to safeguarding the health of its girls and women.

The Queen emphasized Lesotho’s alignment with the global strategy for eliminating cervical cancer, initiated in November 2020. She emphasized the pivotal role of this strategy not only in healthcare but also in poverty reduction, education accessibility, and overall improvement in women and children’s health.

Central to this success is the renewed HPV vaccine program, launched in April 2020 in Botha Bothe. The Queen acknowledged the crucial support from parents, caregivers, and healthcare workers, whose dedication has enabled Lesotho to achieve over 90% cumulative coverage among the targeted age group.

In her call to action, the Queen urged universal health coverage, emphasizing the importance of inclusivity and equitable access to healthcare services. She stressed the collective responsibility to protect vulnerable members of society, particularly those unable to access vaccination services independently.

As a staunch advocate for children’s rights and well-being, Her Majesty pledged her support for initiatives aimed at safeguarding the health rights of both girls and boys. This commitment extends to ensuring vaccination information and services reach all corners of the nation, leaving no one behind.

Meanwhile, representatives from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, lauded Lesotho’s remarkable progress, citing it as a testament to the nation’s resilience and determination. The Managing Director of Country Programmes Delivery applauded the leadership of Health Minister Selibe Mochoboroane, recognizing his role as a champion for immunization.

Looking ahead, there is a collective call for continued commitment and accountability in sustaining and expanding the HPV vaccination program. The focus is on routinizing the program to ensure broad accessibility, with aspirations for future inclusion of boys in the immunization efforts.

During the celebration, districts were recognized for their outstanding performance in the HPV vaccine campaign, underscoring the collective effort across Lesotho’s health and education sectors. These accolades reflect the nation’s dedication to combatting cervical cancer, a leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women in Lesotho.

‘Malefaso Mosese, Manager of the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI), emphasized the evidence-based approach driving the HPV immunization program. She highlighted the diverse implementation strategies employed, including school-based and community-based campaigns, alongside healthcare facility outreach.

Despite notable progress, Mosese stressed the ongoing need for vigilance and improvement, citing varying district performances over recent years. With continued dedication and strategic investment, Lesotho remains steadfast in its mission to protect the health and well-being of its population, particularly its young girls.

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