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The Department of Health is embarking in a massive campaign to provide the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine among school-going girls 9 and 10 in grade 4. The purpose of this intervention is to implement the one of the four basic component of cervical cancer control, namely primary prevention.

Statistics show that one in every eight women who die in South Africa die from complications as a result of cancer of the cervix.  Simply translated, this indicates that if your daughter attends a party with seven other little girls, one of them may die as a result of cancer of the cervix. In South Africa 5 743 new cases of cervical cancer are reported each year. About 3 027 of these are fatal.

Almost 80% of cervical cancers are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). The virus can infect the genital area and cause from something small like a genital wart to cervical and other cancers. The vaccination prevents the infection of the virus from developing on the cervix.

The World Health Organisation has recommended that sexually naive girls and girls between the ages of nine and 13 years be vaccinated against HPV.

The Department of Health teams will visit public and special education schools during February to administer free HPV vaccination to girls in Grade four in 2014 and who have already turned nine and older.

Parents need to ensure that they have signed and return the consent forms which they will receive from the school that their child attends.  No girl will be vaccinated without parental consent.

Should you wish to vaccinate your daughter and she does not fall into this criteria, please speak to your pharmacist. The vaccination is available at pharmacies, however you will be charged for it.

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