The wife of the Prime Minister, Mrs. Lynda Babao-O’Neill, officially launched the release of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Vaccine for Papua New Guinean girls at the Parliament State Function room today.
The launching is the start of the pilot program to vaccinate girls aged fourteen to nineteen, nationwide in the following years.
The vaccination program will start in the National Capital District in 65 Primary Schools, covering 20,000 girls, beginning in the first week of April, and then will be rolled out across the country in 2018.
Mrs. Babao-O’Neill said she was pleased to be a part of the Launch of the HPV vaccination project, noting that Cervical Cancer is the number one cancer amongst women in Papua New Guinea and it results in an estimated 1,500 deaths each year.
“For several years, particularly being part of the Cancer Foundation, work with the Hospital and being involved with the Women Doctor Association, it has been truly heartbreaking to see the plight in which our women have suffered from cervical cancer,” Mrs. Babao-O’Neill said at the program launch.
“It has been heartbreaking to witness the emotional, physical and financial challenges women, along with their families, have all faced from diagnosis to treatment.
“It has been heartbreaking to see the family the woman leaves behind, particularly the young children, after losing their battle against cervical cancer.
“Today’s HPV Vaccination launch brings so much hope and lifts the helplessness.
“The HPV Vaccinations will go a long way to prevent the next generation, our girls, our daughters, from suffering from cervical cancer. They do not have to go through what my generation and the generation before us had to endure.
“By taking preventative measures, they can help to avoid this cancer and can grow up and to see their own children grow up.
“We must also work to provide awareness on what people can do to prevent cancer through a healthy lifestyle and routine doctor check-ups for early detection.”
Mrs. Babao-O’Neill is appealing to all parents of girls in the vaccination age-group to make sure that they take the opportunity for their daughters to be vaccinated.
“Help our girls to have a healthy life and vaccinate against cervical cancer.”
Mrs. Babao-O’Neill thanked all stakeholders and sponsors of the program saying that it takes communities working together to make meaningful change.
“I would like thank the tireless work and generosity of Rotary Boroko and Rotary International for making the project possible. I would also like to thank the Department of Health, the Department of Education, NCD Health and all our development partners.
“It is further appreciated to have Colgate Palmolive, Paradise Foods, Team PNG and the Miss Pacific Island PNG Pageant team to provide gift packs, snacks and support to our young ladies being vaccinated.”