By Paidamoyo Chipunza
Government yesterday began the national roll-out of anti-cancer vaccine to girls between the ages of 10 and 14 years with a sizable number of girls agreeing to receiving the treatment in Harare.
In Harare, the programme will run for a week in schools and for a month at health centres.
Parirenyatwa Hospital primary healthcare clinic sister-in-charge Mrs Sekeni Nyakubaya, said they managed to vaccinate about 400 girls from David Livingstone Primary School yesterday.
She said although they initially faced resistance from the pupils, they eventually vaccinated the majority of them with permission from their guardians.
Avenues Junior School also sent its pupils for vaccination at David Livingstone School.
“There were some refusals initially from the pupils, but they were all later vaccinated after getting consent from their guardians,” said Sister Nyakubaya.
She said a few logistical challenges also cropped up such as lack of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination cards, but they had to improvise and use measles cards instead.
She said there was also some resistance from private schools within their jurisdiction with most parents preferring to have their children vaccinated at private health centres.
Today (Tuesday) the clinic will send outreach teams to Girls High School, Dominican Convent and Queen Elizabeth High School.
Other schools will also be covered by clinics within their proximity.
Disease prevention and epidemiology director in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Dr Portia Manangazira said the programme kicked off well throughout the country despite the few logistical challenges. She said the country has more schools (over 9 000) compared to about 1 800 health facilities hence spreading the vaccination between Monday and Friday.