Article by: Sandra Y. Oketch
The launch of the HPV vaccination into the routine immunization schedule available for all 10-year old girls from September 2019 onward is a great milestone for Kenya.
The Kisumu County launched the HPV vaccine Program on October 25th, 2019 at the Kisumu County Referral Hospital, accompanied by several activities such as HPV health information, speeches and educational entertainment.
The Chief Guest of honor was Dr. Dickens Onyang, the Kisumu County Director of Health Services. Onyango voiced that the vaccine has been successfully included in the healthcare cascade of all Government of Kenya health facilities, and that the Ministry of Health will work hand in hand with the Ministry of Education and all other partners to ensure an effective and efficient implementation of the program. He reiterated the benefits of the launch stating, “The HPV vaccine is the silver bullet to prevention of cervical cancer that will greatly reduce the cervical cancer burden as has been in the 115 countries currently offering HPV vaccine. Kenya will now be the 116th country offering HPV vaccine and the Ministry of Health will endeavor to ensure success of the program.”
Witnessing the first 10 girls receive their first round of HPV vaccine therefore being protected from developing cervical cancer later in life was a sensational moment. As the HPV vaccine is administered in 2 doses, after 6 months, these girls all received a card to indicate when the next dose will be given.
As the Duke Center for Global Reproductive Health team, we commend the Kenyan Government for this great initiative and are happy to be a partner during the launch! This HPV vaccine program will strengthen the prevention efforts we have in place and complement our current screening approach through HPV self-sampling.