DOH, DepEd Partner for School Vaccination

If cancer is the king of diseases, then perhaps it’s not too far-fetched to claim that cervical cancer is the rightful queen, especially in developing countries.

Statistics will back this up. The World Cancer Research Fund International said 84% of cervical cancer cases occur in less developed countries. In the Philippines, more than 6,000 new cases are diagnosed yearly.

Although early sexual activity and having many sexual partners contribute to cervical cancer, the disease may also be one of the side effects of smoking, a weak immune system, being overweight, or a diet low in fruits and vegetables, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).Ceremonial vaccination at Addition Hills Integrated School in Mandaluyong

An important risk factor is being infected with the human papilloma virus (HPV). This is the same virus that causes warts or papillomas which are non-cancerous tumors. Many women have no problem dealing with the virus. In others, however, HPV survives for years and leads to cervical cancer.DepEd and DOH representatives together with Mandaluyong City local government officials

The good news is there is an effective way to prevent an HPV infection which the Department of Health (DOH) said is responsible for 99% of cervical cancer cases in women. The answer lies in HPV vaccination. This simple measure protects both men and women from cervical cancer and can be started as early as age 9. The ACS said the vaccine works best in preteens and is usually given at age 11 or 12.

Among the lucky recipients of the expensive HPV vaccine were 180 Grade IV female students of Addition Hills Integrated School in Mandaluyong City who stood up against cervical cancer yesterday. This was done with the help of the DOH which launched its school-based HPV immunization program.The inaugural vaccination activity was conducted in collaboration with the Department of Education and the Department of Interior and Local Government. MSD  Gardasil – vaccine is used in this event, according to Hon. Congresswoman Queenie Gonzales.

“Shifting the HPV vaccination from a community-based to a school-based approach enables us to provide vaccination services to a ‘catch’ population. We will be able Io reach high coverage and dropout rate will be minimized. School health settings will provide good opportunities to integrate vaccine delivery with other health interventions like health information and warnings against tobacco and drug use,” explained DOH Secretary Dr. Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial.

“Making modern health care solutions more readily available for people has always been one of the thrusts of the local government, especially when it comes to preventing unnecessary suffering. Hence, we fully support the HPV vaccination program,” added Mandaluyong City Mayor Carmelita Abalos.

Mandaluyong Congresswoman Queenie Gonzales further underscored the significance of vaccination in upholding the health and quality of life of the family.“Women have always been at the heart of the Filipino family and society. They are our mothers, sisters, and daughters. We must ensure their protection against diseases such as cervical cancer. Bringing the vaccines to school, where the target beneficiaries are, helps in intensifying the effort,” she concluded.