Enugu Government Warns Against Anti-Vaccination Influence, Vows to Take Action
By Adeke Chukwuka
The Enugu State Government, represented by Gov. Peter Mbah’s deputy, Chief Ifeanyi Ossai, warned against discouraging residents from getting vaccinated. They emphasised their commitment to dealing firmly with anyone spreading misinformation about vaccinations through social media or other means.
This warning was issued during the introduction of HPV vaccination into the Routine Immunisation Schedule in Enugu State.
The Enugu State Government launched a week-long, free statewide HPV vaccination programme for girls aged nine to 14, aiming to prevent cervical cancer, from October 24 to October 29.
The government warned against those discouraging residents from preventive healthcare vaccinations and stated they would take legal action against individuals or groups undermining their healthcare efforts, emphasising their commitment to residents’ well-being.
The governor expressed gratitude to health development partners for supporting the government’s efforts to enhance the health of state residents, particularly in preventive healthcare. He emphasised that vaccines, including the HPV vaccine, administered in the state have been scientifically proven over the years to be safe, effective, and free from side effects.
Dr. Ifeyinwa Ani-Osheku, Executive Secretary of the Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency (EN-PHCDA), highlighted that the HPV vaccination initiative in Enugu State is not only about administering vaccines but also promoting a culture of health and well-being.
The programme aims to educate girls and their families about the significance of regular check-ups, screenings, and preventive strategies like abstinence.
She emphasised the importance of early detection for cervical cancer survival and addressed challenges such as disinformation and conflicting messages, especially from social media. The vaccine introduced, Gardasil, has been in use for over 17 years, has undergone rigorous testing, and is certified effective against 95% of HPV cervical-causing strains.
Dr. Ifeyinwa Ani-Osheku expressed optimism about eliminating various forms of cancer, starting with cervical cancer, relieving young women of this worry as they grow up.
She acknowledged the collaborative efforts with the Federal Ministry of Health and NPHCDA, as well as the support from Enugu State Governor Dr. Peter Mbah, Deputy Governor, and Health Commissioner Prof. Emmanuel Obi. She also thanked partners such as UNICEF, WHO, and SYDANI, highlighting their significant contribution to the successful implementation of the project.
The Commissioner for Health, Prof. Emmanuel Obi, highlighted the concerning issue of cervical cancer and emphasised the state’s commitment to aggressive health promotion and prevention efforts. Mr. James Chukwunwedu from NPHCDA praised the state government for its contribution to the vaccination programme, including providing funds and necessary logistics.
Dr. Adaze Ugwu, State Coordinator of WHO, assured continued technical support to Enugu State in health promotion, specifically mentioning the successful introduction of the HPV vaccine.
The HPV vaccination will become a part of the routine vaccination schedule, available at primary healthcare centres, and will be administered to girls aged nine years and older starting in 2025.
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