The health and family welfare department is planning to launch a vaccine for cervical cancer to be administered to girls in their preadolescence.
Worried about the rise in the number of cases of this type of cancer, the department is expected to include the vaccine in its statewide immunisation programme soon. The proposal has been sent to experts for preparing the estimates for providing the vaccine for free across Punjab.
Girls in the age group of nine to 12 will be administered two doses of vaccine under the programme. There will be a gap of six months between the two. Senior officials of the department have brainstormed the proposal during a recent meeting.
National Rural Health Mission project director Hussan Lal said Punjab will become the first state in the country to provide the vaccine for free under its immunisation programme.
Lal said the proposal has been discussed at the recent meeting on August 8, and is being examined by technical experts. He said a separate report is being prepared to find the number of girls to cover, how to train the doctors and health workers and for creating awareness on the disease.
The planning is in its initial stage, he said, adding that attention will be paid towards prevention of the disease among girls.
About the disease
Cervical cancer is one of the most common types of cancer among women, both in rural and urban areas.
In India, 1.32 lakh new cases and 74,000 deaths are reported every year
Affecting the lowest region of the uterus — uterine cervix — it is generally caused by human papillomavirus (HPV)
Marriage and first child at a very young age, multiple childbirths, poor hygiene and vitamin deficiency are the main causes
Early detection is important to treat the cancer