The Ministry of Health and Sports organized the National Launching on Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine Introduction yesterday. The launching ceremony for central-level was organized at the Myanmar International Convention Centre-II in Nay Pyi Taw, and those present at the event were Union Ministers Dr Myo Thein Gyi and Dr Myint Htwe, Deputy Minister Dr Mya Lay Sein, Permanent Secretary Professor Dr Thet Khaing Win and department heads.
Meanwhile, it was also virtually participated by Union Ministers Dr Pe Myint and Dr Win Myat Aye, chief ministers of states/regions, deputy ministers, government members of states/regions, directors-general, managing directors, rectors, superintendents of the hospitals, state/regional heads of Public Health and Medical Services Department, those from the relevant departments, Gavi, the vaccine alliance, officials from WHO and UNICEF, donor organizations, chairperson and members of National Immunization Technical Advisory Group, medical organizations, officials from NGO/INGOs and health experts. A video message of State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was screened at the ceremony. Union Minister for Health and Sports Dr Myint Htwe talked on the ministry’s ongoing works not only in containment measures against COVID-19 but also in other healthcare services, including the vaccination programme among over 40 health projects of the country.
The HPV for prevention of cervical disease is the 13th vaccination programme of the ministry, and it was launched on 20 October. The vaccination will be given to over 450,000 girls ages 9-10 years. Although the programme will be skipped in the areas under stay-at-home order at present, it will begin as soon as the order was removed in these areas. The vaccination programme will be conducted at the schools when the academic year is resumed. The HPV that will be used in Myanmar is a quadrivalent vaccine which was supplied by Gavi, the vaccine alliance, at a special price of US$4.5 for one dose to one person and the second and final dose will be injected in the alternative year. Gavi, the vaccine alliance, has contributed 80 per cent value of vaccine, while the government will cost for the remaining 20 per cent and other services. Myanmar has been the 5th country of WHO in Southeast Asia and the 6th country of ASEAN member countries for the HPV vaccination programme.
The programme will also reach to far-flung areas, self-administered zones and ethnic areas with the cooperation of state/region governments. The Union Minister also quoted the study of Johns Hopkins University, conducted in 94 countries during the Decade of Vaccines from 2011 to 2020. The findings showed that for every dollar invested in immunization over this period, there is a US$16 return for the health sector and $44 for the social sector. Gavi, the vaccine alliance, will also assist in receiving COVID-19 vaccine for 20 per cent population of Myanmar after it has been developed. Myanmar is working to meet the objective of the WHO to lower the elimination target of 4 cases per 100,000 women per year. He also discussed the awareness programme to prevent this disease at all levels of the community. After screening the HPV programme video, the three girls were vaccinated before the ceremony was concluded. —MNA (Translated by Aung Khin)