Wednesday, 21 March 2018 09:10 am, Nepal

Gardasil vaccination campaign kicks off in Banepa

मेचीकाली : 0000-00-00 00:00:00

Altogether 28 young girls were vaccinated for cancer of the cervix at the first vaccine programme organised in the country on Saturday. Nepal Network for Cancer Treatment and Research Center Australian Cervix Cancer Foundation (NNCTRC) with the support from the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation (ACCF), provided the vaccine to a total of 28 girls belonging to the 12-14 age group in Banepa today. NNCTRC, a non-governmental oraganisation is planning to provide the vaccine to a total of 100 girls at a subsidised price with aid from the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation. NNCTRC Chairman Dr Surendra Bahadur Shrestha informed that they were providing the vaccine, which originally costs at least 25,000 rupees, at the affordable price of 975 rupees to encourage local participation. Four Nepalese women were the first to receive the vaccine at the launch of the campaign, an Australian initiative, to provide the cervical cancer vaccine free to developing nations, which kicked off in Kathmandu on March 9. The world's first cervical cancer vaccine, the Gardasil vaccine, which protects against the strains of the human papilloma virus that causes 70 per cent of cervical cancer was developed by Professor Frazer and the late Dr Jian Zhou. After six months, the NNCTRC with the help from ACCF is planning to provide the vaccine to 1,000 Nepali women from the 9-26 age group. “A lot of women are affected by cancer of the cervix. However since they don’t disclose it, it gets worse,” Dr Shrestha added. Gynecologist and a cervix cancer expert Dr Shila Burma said, “It is best to give the vaccine to women even before they start to have sex.” She added the disease was widespread in Nepali women. “We are very encouraged with the launch of the anti-cervix cancer vaccine campaign in Nepal.” Dr Burma had brought along her daughter Luna to get her vaccinated at the programme. “The vaccine must be given three times in a span of six months,” she added. “(Cervix) Cancer can be avoided at the first place by getting a medical checkup of the mouth of the cervix,” she informed, “However, the cancer has not been under control since most of the patients come (for medical treatment) only after the disease reaches its final stage.” If the vaccine is given to all teenage girls across the country, she said cervical cancer could be eliminated. “If one can’t afford the vaccine, at least by getting the checkup of the cervix’s mouth, they can prevent cancer,” she added. NNCTRC also screened nearly 150 women today. The organization, which has been conducting various cancer related programmes for the last six years, has already screened nearly 1,500 women for cervical cancer. Australian Ambassador Graeme Lade and ACCF chief Michael Wille were also present during the vaccine and screening progarmme today. According to the Australian Queensland Government website, under the $300 million Smart State Innovation Fund program, the Queensland Government is providing Professor Frazer, who is also a Smart State Ambassador, $250,000 a year over five years to translate the immunotherapy success of his cervical cancer vaccine to other diseases. The Brisbane-based Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation is sponsoring the programme.

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