Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Vaccine program seeks to fight cancer



Vaccine program seeks to fight cancer

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A doctor performs a cervical examination on a patient last year at Phnom Penh’s Sihanouk Hospital of HOPE. Athena Zelandonii

Vaccine program seeks to fight cancer

More than 13,000 9-year-old girls in Cambodia will receive an HPV vaccine over the next two years as part of a new program seeking to reduce the country’s dismal cervical cancer rates.

The Ministry of Health on Friday launched a demonstration project to vaccinate a total of nearly 13,400 schoolgirls – some 7,900 in Siem Reap and 5,500 in Svay Rieng – against HPV, said Ork Vichit, manager for the National Immunisation Program.

The HPV virus is a contributing factor that can lead to cervical cancer among women later in life. Cervical cancer is not only the most common kind of cancer among Cambodian women, but the most prevalent in the Kingdom, with a rate that last year stood at 20.5 for every 100,000 women – the highest in the region.

The vaccine “can contribute to the reduction of cervical cancer”, Vichit said yesterday, adding that officials plan to introduce the vaccine into the national program in 2018, depending on a funding proposal.

The vaccination non-profit GAVI is providing about $250,000 for operation costs for the first year of the pilot project, in addition to in-kind contributions of vaccines, Vichit said. The funding will decrease by about half during the second year.

Rob Kelly, a spokesman for GAVI, didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time.

Dr Eav Sokha, head of the onco-hematology department at Calmette hospital, said he was glad to hear news of the project.

“Many scientific studies have shown that if we start to vaccinate against HPV, in 15 to 20 years, we will reduce the incidence of cervical cancer,” he said, adding that cervical cancer usually emerges in women between 40 and 45 years of age.

The vaccine will protect the girls from cervical cancer in the future, he said, and mortality rates would also decrease as a result.

Cambodia sees about 795 cervical cancer deaths every year.

However, Dr Thay Sovannara, who manages a clinic at Sihanouk Hospital Center for HOPE, which provides free cervical cancer screening, said more resources are also needed to help detect cancer at an early stage in women.

MOST VIEWED

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia to make auto-rickshaws

    Locally-assembled electric auto-rickshaws could hit the Cambodian market as soon as early in May after the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) gave the greenlight to an investment project at the weekend. According to a CDC press release, it will issue a final registration