#HEALTH: Protecting women and girls

THE Parliamentary Special Select Committee on Health, Dewan Rakyat, the National Cancer Society of Malaysia (NCSM), and the Ministry of Health have launched the "Leaving No One Behind: Eliminating Cervical Cancer in Malaysia" programme.

Under this programme, 300,000 doses of the HPV vaccine worth RM90 million will be given free of charge to teenagers and women from disadvantaged and vulnerable communities in each of the 222 parliamentary constituencies in Malaysia.

Through this programme, women and teenagers from the underprivileged, infirm, and differently-abled groups who have not yet received the HPV vaccine will be identified in each parliamentary constituency through the offices of Members of Parliament, government agencies, and local NGOs to be vaccinated says Parliamentary Special Select Committee on Health chairman Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, who will oversee the implementation of the programme.

About 1,500 doses of the vaccine worth about RM500,000 have been allocated for each parliamentary constituency.

This programme will be a complementary one to existing efforts by the Ministry of Health, which plans to eliminate the problem of cervical cancer in Malaysia by 2030.

In Malaysia, cervical cancer is the third most common cancer among women. More than 40 per cent of cases are diagnosed late, at stage 3 or 4, with only about 30 per cent of patients still alive within five years of diagnosis.

HPV vaccination can reduce the risk of cervical cancer by up to 95 per cent.

The public can get more information about cervical cancer, the HPV vaccine, and the "Leaving No One Behind: Eliminating Cervical Cancer in Malaysia" programme at www.hpv.cancer.org.my

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