The National Cancer Control Programme will launch a demonstration project in Edea and Foumban at the end of October 2014.
Cameroon’s major vaccine provider, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, GAVI, has provided a stock of the vaccine against cervical cancer, GARDASIL. The vaccine will be administered in an initial demonstration project on young girls aged between nine and thirteen years in the towns of Edea (Littoral Region) and Foumban (West Region) for a period of 18 months. The project is due to be launched at the end of October 2014 by the Minister of Public Health.
In preparation, the National Cancer Control Programme, NCCP, is organising workshops to train stakeholders on cervical cancer, its causes and the administration of the vaccine. Speaking to Cameroon Tribune on Friday, September 12, 2014, NCCP’s Executive Secretary, Prof. Doh Anderson, revealed that Cameroon is one of the nine countries selected in Africa by GAVI to see how well they can manage an immunisation project of that magnitude, before going national.
“We have experience because, in partnership with the Cameroon Baptist Convention, we carried out the vaccination of over 6,800 girls between 2010 and 2011 in Kumbo and Bamenda in the North West Region, Mutengene in the South West Region, and at the Gynaeco-Obstetric Hospital in Yaounde,” said Prof. Doh.
Cervical cancer, which affects over 10 per cent of the estimated 12,000 to 14,000 cancer patients in Cameroon, is caused by the Human Papilloma Virus, HPV; the most frequent sexually transmitted infection. “We are therefore vaccinating the 9-13 age group because we believe they are not yet been exposed to sexual intercourse. That is the age that has been accepted by the World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF and all the world bodies taking care of human health,” explained Prof. Doh.
The stakes, he argued, are high for if nothing is done, the figures in Cameroon will double in 20 years. “The socio-economic impact will be felt because the cancer mostly affects working women in their 30s, 40s or 50s who have young children, and retiring husbands,” Prof. Doh added. The vaccination will be done in schools, health centres and villages. The GARDASIL vaccine is approved by the Cameroonian government and authorised for sale by pharmacies where women who are not targeted under the immunisation demonstration project and not yet sexually active, could buy it.