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Public meetings rally support for cervical cancer jab

Minister of Health DR A Motsoaledi launched the Human papilloma Virus Vaccine at Gonyane Primary in Mangaung in the Free State. Photo:GCIS. (File Photo)
Written by Mpho Lekgetho

As school health teams get underway with the country’s third annual human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination drive, Northern Cape public meetings aim to convince skeptical caregivers that the jab may be the best shot young girls have at preventing cervical cancer.

Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi launched the HPV vaccine campaign at Gonyane Primary in Mangaung in the Free State in 2014

Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi launched the HPV vaccine campaign at Gonyane Primary in Mangaung in the Free State in 2014

Margaret Marumo, 74, looks after her granddaughter. Marumo said she was initially hesitant to let her granddaughter be vaccinated against HPV as part of the Department of Health’s school-based vaccination programme.

“I was afraid this injection would make my grandchild feel free to be sexually active at a very young age,” she OurHealth.

Marumo added that a recent public dialogue held in the Kuruman area helped her understand the vaccine’s benefits, and why it was important to vaccinate children before they became sexually active and were exposed to the cancer-causing virus.

The public dialogues are aimed at helping the National Department of Health increase uptake of the vaccine, which was first rolled out nationally in 2014.

According to National Department of Health Spokesperson Joe Maila, more than 340,000 Grade 4 school girls nine years and older have been vaccinated against the virus annually since 2014.

However, the department has fallen about 60,000 girls short of their targeted 100 percent vaccination rate.

“This was mostly children forgetting to bring consent forms to school or who were absent,” Maila said. “We think getting to 340,000 is quite successful. We are hoping that eventually it will be 100 percent.”

The HPV vaccine helps protect girls from the two strains of HPV responsible for about 70 percent of all cervical cancers. School health teams are currently vaccinating Grade 4 girls in the country’s poorest 80 percent of public schools against HPV. The girls will receive the vaccine’s second required dose in September and October. – Health-e News.

An edited version of this story was also published on 

About the author

Mpho Lekgetho

Mpho Lekgetho is our citizen journalists based in Kuruman at the John Taolo Gaetsewe District in the Northern Cape. She has a qualification in Industrial Psychology from Unisa. Mpho is a former radio presenter at Kurara community radio station. She is currently working as a data collector for HSRC and is also a chairperson of the JTG Civil Society Forum and co-chairs District Aids Council.

1 Comment

  • Just to make you aware that Discovery Medical Aid is giving me problems, with refusing to register me without penalties. I was a Deputy Nursing Manager at Mediclinic Sandton until August 2011. September 2011 I applied to continue with them, and they wanted to accept me with conditions, as if I was not from a medical aid. They started telling me that for the period I was in England I should have been contributing to a Medical Aid Scheme, whilst I was contributing to the National Insurance. They once refused to pay for my daughters scan as this was done on a Sunday, when their offices were closed. My daughter had had an accident. The more you wait with the NHI the more you make us susceptible to these Medical Aid schemes, that have no interest in the Health of the Nation. Please start with NHI, ASAP. There are lot of us, who have lived overseas an can attest to the benefits of the NHI. Rre Mocwaledi please assist.

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