THE Department of Health (DoH) on Monday has taken a strengthened approach to protect young children from Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection, launching a school-based immunization program (SBIP) for school girls aged 9 to 14 years old in Taguig City.
DoH Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said the HPV SBIP, an initiative of DoH in collaboration with the Departments of Education and the Interior and Local Government, targets to reach to at least 6,000 children in 23 schools of Taguig City, which will commence in December.
He disclosed that the National Capital Region inaugural vaccination was held at the Lakeshore Hall, C6, Lower Bicutan in Taguig City where 15 Grade 4 girls from Upper Bicutan Elementary School, Silangan Elementary School and Bagong Tanyag Elementary School received quadrivalent HPV vaccine.
“It is a basic right of every child to be vaccinated and all children shall enjoy this right. Being our most treasured assets in this country, every child should receive the optimum service for their health and welfare. They should be protected from vaccine-preventable diseases like HPV infection,” the Health chief explained.
“Schoolchildren spend most of their time within the bounds of the school than any other place. For young girls of Taguig City, their schools will also be the venue of having their first line of defense against HPV infection,” he added.
HPV SBIP has gained the support of the children’s parents after a series of orientations were conducted to provide basic information on HPV, its related diseases and the importance of preventive strategies against it, including vaccination.
For her part, Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano emphasized the city’s commitment to protect their constituents from unnecessary sufferings brought by diseases such as HPV infection and the different types of cancer, among others.
“In every occasion, I always emphasize how we value the quality of health for every Taguigeño. These hundreds of young school girls are our future teachers, doctors, lawyers and leaders that will bring us to a more progressive city. Their presence here and our sincerest intent to shield them from HPV infection and other diseases that it may trigger, marks the journey to a better future for all Taguigeños,” Cayetano said.
“The turnout for the first dose back in November 2017 was only 300 school girls. But because we showed that these children who received this innovative vaccine, are okay and healthy, it may have served as an encouragement to the thousands of other young girls in Taguig to now get their own and to complete their shots,” she added.
HPV is a leading cause of cervical cancer which claim the lives of at least 7-8 Filipinas on a daily basis. Over 6,000 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed every year. Of the cases, 99 percent are contributed by HPV infection.