As a school campaign to inoculate girls against one of the leading causes of cervical cancer wraps in the Northern Cape’s Siyancuma Local Municipality, one nurse says parents need to know more about the human papillomavirus (HPV).
This month, grade 4 girls lined up for their second vaccination against HPV that will protect them from developing cervical cancer later in life. About 350 000 grade 4 girls 9 years and older received the first injection of this two-dose vaccine in March and April this year, according to the National Department of Health.
The campaign recently concluded in Douglas, Northern Cape in the province’s Siyancuma Local Municipality. Sister Mitzi Prinz helped lead the Douglas leg of the campaign and says awareness – and community buy-in – could be improved.[quote float=”left”]“We still have a long way to go but we’ll get there,”
“Not everyone in our municipality had been informed regarding this campaign and that’s why not all parents and guardians gave permission for girls to be vaccinated,” said Prinz, who added that the vaccination programme was carried out in about 14 schools.
A lack of awareness is despite door-to-door efforts by local community health care workers to inform guardians about the benefits of the jab for young girls.
“We still have a long way to go but we’ll get there,” said Prinz, who also encouraged women who are sexually active to go for regular Pap smears.
In the public health sector, HIV negative women only get three free Pap smears starting at the age of 30, while HIV positive women are allowed more screenings because they are at higher risk of developing cervical cancer.