India adopts HPV vaccine for cervical cancer

Dr Singh said that India has plans to increase the scope of the HPV vaccination by expanding its use to additional states.

Published: 18th November 2023 07:30 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th November 2023 07:30 AM   |  A+A-

HPV and cervical cancer

For representational purposes

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: India has introduced the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination to target cervical cancer at the sub-national level in Sikkim and is planning to increase the scope of the vaccination in other states, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said Friday.

Marking the third year of the cervical cancer elimination effort, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director for Southeast Asia, said the global strategy for elimination was launched by WHO in November 2020. “Since the launch of the global strategy, member states have demonstrated commendable political will, exemplified by the formulation and launch of elimination strategies at the national level,” she said.

Six member states of the region — Bhutan, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand — have introduced HPV vaccine nationwide. Two member-states — India in Sikkim and Bangladesh in Dhaka — have introduced it at sub-national level. 

Dr Singh said that India has plans to increase the scope of the HPV vaccination by expanding its use to additional states. Nepal and Timor-Leste plans to introduce the vaccine in 2023-24, she added. Quoting the Global Cancer Observatory 2020, she said that the South East Asia Region accounted for a substantial portion of the global cervical cancer burden, with 2,00,000 new cases  — 32% of the worldwide burden — and 1,00,000 deaths, 34% of global fatalities. 

Cervical cancer is a preventable and curable disease if detected early and treated adequately. It is the secondmost common cancer in India. Estimates show cervical cancer contributes to 6-29% of all cancers in women.

Dr Singh said the Region has been able to meet the interim targets, which include 90% of girls in the Region being fully vaccinated with the HPV vaccine by age 15; 70% of women have undergone high-performance testing by age 35, with a repeat screening by age 45; 90% of women with precancerous conditions received timely treatment, and 90% of women diagnosed with invasive cancer were able to manage it effectively.

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