India’s bid to beat cervical cancer

Source: The post is based on the article “India’s bid to beat cervical cancerpublished in The Hindu on 28th December 2022. 

What is the News?

The government has recently announced that it will roll out vaccines for the prevention of cervical cancer to girls aged between 9 and 14 years through schools. Girls who do not attend schools will be given the vaccines by community outreach and mobile health teams.

Recently, the National Technical Advisory Group for Immunisation (NTAGI) had also recommended the introduction of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP).

What is Cervical Cancer?
Read more: Cervical Cancer
What is India’s Cervical cancer burden?

More than 58% of all cases of cervical cancer and deaths globally were estimated in Asia with India accounting for 21% of cases and 23% of deaths, followed by China (18% and 17%).

In India, the incidence rate is 18 per 1,00,000 women. The WHO has specified that countries must maintain an incidence rate of fewer than 4 new cases per 1,00,000 women a year by 2030.

To achieve that goal, 90% of girls will have to be vaccinated with the HPV vaccine by the age of 15.

About indigenous HPV vaccine, CERVAVAC
Read here: What India’s first HPV vaccine could mean for fight against cervical cancer
What is the importance of launching the HPV vaccine?
Read here: Approval for home-grown cervical cancer vaccine could be a game-changer
When the HPV vaccine will be rolled out?

The indigenous HPV vaccine is likely to be rolled out by mid-2023. A one-time catch-up vaccine will be given to 9-14-year-old adolescent girls before it is introduced at nine years.

What are the challenges in reducing cervical cancer?

According to the Lancet, the burden of cervical cancer remains high in Asia and Africa due to substantial geographical, and socioeconomic inequalities and lower levels of human development.

Note: In 2022, India ranked 132 out of 191 countries on the Human Development Index.

How India can reduce Cervical cancer through the HPV vaccine?

-India’s fertility rate is declining due to a variety of factors, including an improved literacy rate, an increase in the age of marriage and so forth. This should be utilised in India’s fight against cervical cancer.

-From the government, doctors to ground level health workers should launch campaigns on cervical cancer awareness, push vaccinations and screening for all girls.

-The surveillance systems and infrastructure used for COVID-19 vaccinations may also be customised to improve HPV vaccination, monitor national cervical screening programmes and improve health system capacity to deliver more efficient preventive services.

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