NW HEALTH ROLLS OUT FIRST ROUND OF HUMAN PAPILLOMA VIRUS VACCINATIONS DRIVE IN COMMEMORATION OF HEALTHY LIFESTYLE AWARENESS MONTH

Published on: 08 February 2024 Category: Media Statement

The North West Department of Health is commemorating Healthy Lifestyle Awareness Month by rolling out the first round of the Human Papiloma Virua (HPV) vaccination from 6 to 20 February in all primary schools across the province. HPV is a viral infection that is transmitted between people through skin-to-skin contact. The infection occurs when the virus enters the body, usually through a cut or sexual contact including vaginal, anal, and oral sex.

The HPV vaccination is most effective if given before having sex for the first time and is therefore recommended for children aged between nine and fourteen (9-14) years and is available in all our primary health care facilities. The vaccine prevents certain types of HPV that cause most cases of genital warts and cervical cancer. It Children ages 11–12 years should get two doses of HPV vaccine, given six to twelve months apart.

Parents and guardians of unvaccinated teenagers are advised to consult their nearest healthcare facility as soon as possible. Teenagers who start the HPV vaccine series on or after their 15th birthday require three doses, administered over six months. HPV infections often have no symptoms, so you may not know if you have it. Where symptoms do appear these will vary depending on the strain of HPV. One of the most common strains of HPV is genital warts. Many people with this strain of HPV will not develop any symptoms or know that they have it.

Symptoms of genital warts include: • One or more small, flesh-coloured or grey painless growths or lumps around the vagina, penis, anus, or upper thighs. • Itching or bleeding from the genitals or anus. • A change to the normal flow of pee (for example, sideways), that doesn't go away. The warts may be difficult to notice if they are internal (inside the vagina or anus). “We urge parents and caregivers to sign consent forms for vaccination to be administered to their children at schools through the school health outreach programme. The vaccine is available through all our clinics and at school-based clinics. Children must be immunized at an early age to avoid the future burden of diseases that could have been prevented through vaccines” advised MEC Madoda Sambatha.

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Enquiries: Tebogo Lekgethwane Departmental Spokesperson 0674227763 tlekgethwane@nwpg.gov.za

ISSUED BY THE NORTH WEST DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

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