Nigeria has initiated an extensive vaccination drive against the human papillomavirus (HPV) to combat cervical cancer. This campaign aims to vaccinate 16.6 million girls aged 9 to 14 by the end of 2025, as HPV is a known contributor to cervical cancer.
The Federal Government has incorporated the HPV vaccine into the routine immunisation system, targeting over seven million girls in a single vaccination round – the largest such effort in Africa. Cervical cancer ranks as the third most common cancer among Nigerian women, and it’s the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the 15 to 44 age group.
In its initial phase, a five-day mass vaccination campaign is underway in schools and communities across 16 states and the Federal Capital Territory. Subsequently, the vaccine will be integrated into regular immunisation schedules at healthcare facilities.
The HPV vaccine is provided free of charge through the Federal Ministry of Health, with support from partners like Gavi, UNICEF, and WHO. Over 35,000 health workers have received training to ensure widespread vaccine coverage, even in remote communities reached by mobile vaccination units.
This comprehensive effort is expected to significantly reduce cervical cancer cases and save the lives of Nigerian women.