In Cameroon, over 18,000 girls aged 9 to 13 were vaccinated against cervical cancer between 2014 and 2016. This figure was disclosed by the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), under the supervision of the Ministry of Public Health (Minsanté). The introductory campaign for this vaccination was carried out in two health districts, Foumban (Western Region) and Edéa (Littoral) namely.
For a population of approximately 15,919 counted in the schools and communities of these two health districts, 11,235 girls received the first dose in November 2014 and in May 2015, 10,534 (out of the first 11,235 girls who received the first dose ) received the second dose. This represents a coverage rate of 94%.
During the second campaign organized in 2016, the EPI identified 8,310 girls and vaccinated 7,996 for the first dose, and six months later (November 2016) 7,848 out of the 7,996 who received the first dose were given the second. This represents a 98% coverage rate.
According to Dr. Elie Simo, coordinator of the EPI regional technical group in the West, this prevention is only effective when the girls are still virgins. "Every girl who has already had her first sexual contact is likely to have already gotten in contact with the germ, and therefore, vaccination may not serve any purpose. This is why experts who have done studies on the matter concluded that in Cameroon it is better to inoculate the two doses to that age group since they most likely have not had their first sexual intercourse yet,” he explains.
In Cameroon, cervical cancer is the second most common female cancer. It represents about 14.9% of overall female cancer with 15,461 new cases diagnosed in the country in 2018 while 2,356 of the diagnosed cases died during the period. A community-based study estimated the prevalence of cervical cancer at 39% among women. This prevalence places Cameroon among the countries with the highest cervical cancer prevalence worldwide.
From September 23 to 27, 2020, a vaccination campaign against cervical cancer is planned countrywide. This time, this campaign targets 339,908 girls.