Chandigarh: The Punjab government will soon sign a MoU with UNICEF to procure 40,000 anti-Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccines to check the spread of cervical cancer in the state.
This was decided in a meeting today presided by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.
Punjab will launch a free of cost vaccination programme to "eradicate" the "curse" of cervical cancer after the MoU is inked. Procurement of vaccines will be done in multiple phases, an official release said today.
"The chief minister gave his nod to the department of Health and Family Welfare to sign the MoU with UNICEF," it said, adding he assured regular flow of funds to implement this mega vaccination project.
Badal stressed on a mass-media campaign to create awareness on prevention and cure of cervical cancer among people.
"A technical group headed by state health and family welfare advisor, Dr K K Talwar, has recommended that around 10,000 girls, between ages 9 to 13 years, studying in Class 6 at government schools in Mansa and Bathinda districts will be vaccinated in the first phase," Principal Secretary health, Vini Mahajan said.
Incidence of cervical cancer is second highest in Punjab after breast cancer. Mansa and Bathinda districts have the highest incidence of the disease, the release said.
"The first phase will start in November. Around 20,000 doses will be administered. The rest 2 lakh girls, studying in government and private schools or drop outs, will be covered in subsequent phases," it said, adding doses will be given at community health centres, and sub-divisional and district hospitals.
"Planning and finance departments have given their concurrence to carry out this mass vaccination programme to eradicate the curse of cervix cancer," Mahajan said.
She informed the CM that cervical cancer is the second most common form of cancer among women in India.
Globally an estimated 2.5 lakh women die of cancer annually and India is the fourth largest contributor with 67,000 deaths.
She clarified," Since this imported vaccine was already available in the open market, most affluent families had administered requisite doses to their daughters as a preventive measure."
According to National Centre for Disease Informatics Research and National Cancer Registry Program reports, incidence of cervical cancer is highest in Bathinda at 17.5 followed by Mansa 17.3.
Inicidence is Faridkot is 14.6, Sri Muktsar Sahib 12.7, Mohali 12, Sangrur 11.1, Moga 10.2, Fatehgarh Sahib 10, Amritsar 9.7, Ludhiana 9.4, Jalandhar 9.1, Roop Nagar 8.1, Kapurthala 8 and Hoshiarpur 7.3.