Islamabad: Government must take immediate measures to ensure availability of vaccine for cervical cancer through national immunization program to save precious lives as 20 women die of cervical cancer every day in Pakistan.
Health experts have urged the government to include the vaccine for cervical cancer in the immunization program while talking to journalists in a briefing arranged by United Against Cervical Cancer (UACC).
Dr. Salma Kafeel Qureshi, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, HOD Quaid-e-Azam International Hospital said that Cervical Cancer is the cancer of the cervix and caused by a virus called Human Papillomavirus (HPV) which is common and easily transmissible. Fortunately vaccine is available to prevent cervical cancer but lack of awareness is causing loss of precious lives.
She added that we must take serious note of this severity as we cannot no more tolerate any social barriers that prevail in the country and discourage public awareness. She further said medical fraternity welcomed government’s efforts in this regard and it is trying to improve the health and nutrition status of people through enhanced coverage and access to essential health services. We also suggest that government, policy makers and parents must pay attention to ensure that our women are screened and vaccinated against this deadly but preventable disease.
WHO study shows that in Pakistan, the incidence of cervical cancer less than 9 per 100,000 back in 2002 which has moved to 13.6 per 100,000 in 2008. It showed that the country is moving from low risk level to moderate risk level making it a danger zone where the young girls are more at risk than before.
She added that according to a study carried out by WHO, numerous tools and technologies exist to prevent Cervical Cancer. These interventions remain largely inaccessible to girls and women who need them the most.
She added that as it is caused by a virus, every woman is at a risk. The best time to get vaccinated is before marriage, however all females from 9 years onwards can benefit from vaccine against Cervical Cancer. Getting the vaccine as early as possible will protect them in future.
She also added that response against cervical cancer is same in all segments of our society. Irrespective of their social upbringing or education level parents do not pay heed to it. ‘In our culture we spend a lot on dowry and weddings of our daughters but when it comes to their health, we act ignorant. The best gift to women on their wedding would be vaccination against this killer as more than 60% of those who get Cervical Cancer die from it,’ she added.
UACC is established with an aim to fight this disease and protect our women who have the responsibility of upbringing our generations. We must not forget that vaccination along with screening can reduce the incidence of cervical cancer by 94% and the screening should be continued even after vaccination, panelists concluded.