The Ministry of Health in collaboration with development partners has launched two vaccine campaigns in Ganta, Nimba County. They include vaccine for the genital human papillomavirus (HPV) and the Rotavirus vaccine forbabies age five and children age 10. The campaign will cover Bong, Margibi and Nimba counties, respectively.
Rotavirus infects the intestinal tract of almost all young children by age five, while HPV is a common virus that is passed from one person to another through direct skin-to-skin contact during sexual activity. Most sexually active people will get HPV at some time in their lives, though most will never even know it. HPV infection is most common in people in their late teens and early 20s.It causes cervical cancer in women and other less common cancers, including cancers of the anus, penis, vagina, and vulva and oropharynx.
On the other hand, children can contract rotavirus more than once, but the first infection is usually the worst, which causes stomach upset and diarrhea. Babies and very young children who have rotavirus infections need to be watched closely, because they can become dehydrated very quickly. Dehydration occurs when the body loses water more quickly than it is replaced. The virus spreads through contact with the stool from an infected child.
Speaking Monday, 25 April in Ganta during the launch which coincided with celebration of World Malaria Day, Nimba County electoral district #8 Representative Larry Younquoi promised to join his colleagues in the House of Representatives to lobby for more funding for the Ministry of Health to adequately cater to the health needs of Liberians.
Liberia’s Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Minister of Health, Doctor Francis Kateh urged citizens to make use of the vaccines. Doctor Kateh said the HPV and the ROTA vaccines absolutely pose no harm to children, stressing that it is intended to fight womb cancer at an early age in children 10 years old and below.
Also speaking, Montserrado County Representative Saah Joseph, said he will join friends – Senator Peter Coleman of Grand Kru County and Representative Larry P.Younquoi of Nimba to galvanize funding for the ministry. The HPV is said to be the main cause of cancer of the womb. The vaccine will be administered to girls age 10, who are currently out of school from April 25-29, 2016.
He warned the citizens that there is no treatment for cancer of the womb in Liberia, so they should protect themselves by taking the HPV vaccine, which is not only safe and good, but free of charge. The lawmakers however said Liberia is progressing in the fight against malaria, noting that malaria is no longer a cause of many deaths among African children.
The celebration was sponsored by UNICEF, WHO, PLAN-International, Healthy Life, Global Fund, Center for Disease Control, USAID, and the Ministry of Health, among others under the theme: “End Malaria for Good” with slogan, ‘Pregnant women, go to the clinic for your malaria medicine.”
The deputy program manager for malaria in Liberia, Mr. P. KonahNyansaige and EPI boss Mary Momolu also urged Liberians to make use of the Malaria vaccine and the HPV vaccine. They said the vaccines are primarily intended to help reduce womb cancer and other diseases among the population.
By Franklin Doloquee, Nimba-Editing by Jonathan Browne