School children spend most of their time within the bounds of the school than any other place. For young girls of Taguig City, their schools will also be the venue of having their first line of defense against Human Papillomavirus infection.
The Department of Health recently launched its strengthened approach to protect young children from HPV infection through school-based immunization program for school girls aged 9 to 14 years old. This year, the National Capital Region inaugural vaccination was held at the Lakeshore Hall, C6, Lower Bicutan in Taguig City where fifteen Grade 4 girls received quadrivalent HPV vaccination.
The inaugural vaccination was participated by school girls from Upper Bicutan Elementary School, Silangan Elementary School, and Bagong Tanyag Elementary School. HPV SBIP, an initiative of DOH in collaboration with the Department of Education and Department of Interior and Local Government, targets to reach at least 6,000 children in 23 schools of Taguig City, which will commence in December.
HPV SBIP has gained the support of the children’s parents after a series of orientations where conducted to provide basic information on HPV, its related diseases, and the importance of preventive strategies against it, including vaccination.
Taguig City Mayor Laarni Cayetano emphasized the city’s commitment to protect their constituents from unnecessary sufferings brought by diseases such as HPV infection and the different types of cancer among others.
“In every occasion, I always emphasize how we value the quality of health for every Taguigeño. These hundreds of young school girls are our future teachers, doctors, lawyers and leaders that will bring us to a more progressive city. Their presence here and our sincerest intent to shield them from HPV infection and other diseases that it may trigger, marks the journey to a better future for all Taguigeños,” Mayor Cayetano said.
She added, “The turnout for the first dose back in November 2017 was only 300 school girls. But because we showed that these children who received this innovative vaccine, are okay and healthy, it may have served as an encouragement to the thousands of other young girls in Taguig to now get their own and to complete their shots.”
Aside from supporting the HPV SBIP, Taguig City government has been active in health care programs especially for women. The City, in partnership with ICanServe Foundation, has a standing breast cancer screening program and a cervical cancer awareness drive through early screening.
Taguig City’s second district Rep. Pia Cayetano, a staunch advocate of women’s rights and health, graced the event to show her support to the initiative in saving young girls from HPV infection. Cayetano said that taking the fight against HPV in schools brings more success in the combat against the virus which is a leading cause of cervical cancer that claim the lives of at least 7 - 8 Filipinas on a daily basis.
Over 6,000 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed every year. Of the cases, 99 percent are contributed by HPV infection.
“It is a paramount priority for us in government service, particularly in our city, to ensure that the health services for our people, especially the hope of our future – the children, are delivered to them, and reach the majority, if not all of our constituents, who need it. This innovation of bringing the immunization program against HPV only shows our commitment and the sincerity of the Department of Health in its thrust to deliver the best health care services,” Cong. Cayetano said.
The Department of Education firmly advocates that apart from giving the basic education as mandated in their curriculum, the department is also committed to ensuring that children – and their parents or caregivers – are given the proper information on this silent disease, HPV.
The Department of Health also assured parents that HPV vaccine has been well-tolerated by many adolescents in our country and around the world, and it is needed to shield them from threats of HPV infections in the future.
“It is a basic right of every child to be vaccinated and all children shall enjoy this right. Being our most treasured assets in this country, every child should receive the optimum service for their health and welfare. They should be protected from vaccine-preventable diseases like HPV infection,” Sec. Duque explained.
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