Delhi: DCW issues notice to DGHS on cervical cancers 

New Delhi, Aug 16 (IANS) Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) Chief Swati Maliwal on Wednesday issued a notice to the Directorate General of Health services (DGHS), seeking introduction of free of cost Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to prevent cervical cancers among women.

In her notice issued to the DGHS Director, Maliwal wrote: “Cervical cancer is a leading cause of cancer-associated mortality among women in India. It is estimated that every year, approximately 1.25 lakh new cases are diagnosed and over 75,000 deaths occur in the country.

Cervical cancer is preventable with the help of routine screening and administration of the vaccine for the HPV infection which is majorly responsible for this disease.”

“According to reports, the UK has witnessed a 90 percent reduction in rates of cervical cancer after routinely immunising school going girls for 10 years. In India, the HPV vaccine is priced at Rs 2,800 and Rs 3,299 per dose for Gardasil and Cervarix respectively with each vaccine requiring a minimum of three doses. Hence, for a girl to be vaccinated in India against cervical cancer, an amount of Rs 8,400 or Rs 9,897 is required which is a huge amount for most people in the country,” she said.

“Prevention through vaccination is one of the pillars of the global strategy adopted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in August 2020 for elimination of cervical cancer. It is also to be noted that the Government advisory panel National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) has already recommended the introduction of the HPV vaccine in the Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) with a one-time catch-up for 9 to 14-year-old adolescent girls followed with routine introduction at 9 years.”

Maliwal sought details of efforts made by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to prevent occurrence of cervical cancer in India besides any awareness campaigns and schemes about cervical cancer and HPV vaccine being run by it within August 31.

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