Nigeria has commenced a large-scale vaccination campaign against the human papillomavirus (HPV) in a bid to substantially reduce cervical cancer rates.
The initiative aims to vaccinate 16.6 million girls aged 9 to 14 by the end of 2025. HPV is known to be responsible for some cases of cervical cancer.
The Federal Government has introduced the HPV vaccine into the routine immunization system, targeting over seven million girls in a single round of vaccination—the largest in the African region. Cervical cancer ranks as the third most common cancer among Nigerian women and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the age group of 15 to 44.
In the initial phase, a five-day mass vaccination campaign in schools and communities is underway across 16 states and the Federal Capital Territory. The vaccine will become a part of the regular immunization schedule within healthcare facilities.
The vaccine is provided free of charge through the Federal Ministry of Health, supported by partners including Gavi, UNICEF, and WHO. Over 35,000 health workers have been trained to ensure extensive vaccine coverage, reaching even remote communities through mobile vaccination units.
This effort is expected to significantly reduce cervical cancer cases and save the lives of Nigerian women.