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

  • Prince injured, wife dies after accident

    THE wife of former First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Ouk Phalla, 39, died while the prince was “severely” injured following a road accident in Preah Sihanouk province’s Prey Nub district on Sunday morning, officials said. Rananriddh, who is also the president of the Funcinpec

  • Guards protest dismissals, reject claims of sharing naked photos of child

    Some 20 former security guards at the US Embassy in Phnom Penh protested on Tuesday against their dismissal. They accused their employers of falsely claiming they had viewed and shared child pornography from their mobile phones as grounds for their termination. In total, 32 personnel were dismissed

  • We’re going to Wisney World!

    More than 6,000 mostly Chinese attendees witnessed the inauguration ceremony of a $1 billion Sihanoukville resort project called Wisney World in the capital on Wednesday. The event on Koh Pich, attended by several senior Cambodian government officials, is a joint venture between China’s AMC International and

  • Funcinpec urges probe into deadly Preah Sihanouk accident

    THE Funcinpec party has urged the government, especially the Ministry of Interior, to investigate the traffic accident in Preah Sihanouk province which left Prince Norodom Ranariddh badly injured and his wife Ouk Phalla dead. Funcinpec Vice President You Hokry told reporters at Botum Votey pagoda,