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Empowering Girls’ Health: NAWOJ B Zone joins UNICEF TO Advocates for HPV Vaccination



Empowering Girls’ Health: NAWOJ B Zone joins UNICEF TO Advocates for HPV Vaccination



The Nigeria Association of Women Journalists in South West States (NAWOJ B Zone) recently attended a landmark advocacy dialogue meeting aimed at bolstering awareness and accessibility of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine across the region.

The event was hosted by the United Nations Children’s Fund, (UNICEF). UNICEF urged women journalists to support Human Papilomavirus Vaccination for girls to achieve 90 per cent goal in Nigeria.

Amidst insightful discussions and collaborative efforts to address prevailing challenges hindering HPV vaccine uptake, the dialogue meeting witnessed a significant moment of solidarity and support for girls’ health initiatives.

Notably, Comrade Adeola Adekunle, the Vice-President of NAWOJ B Zone, expressed gratitude to UNICEF and the Oyo State Government for collaborating with NAWOJ B Zone to sensitize journalists on the need to encourage the vaccination of our girl child. Dr. Adeola Ekine, Chairperson of Lagos NAWOJ, also reaffirmed her staunch advocacy for the well-being of young girls. In her address, Dr. Ekine emphasized the importance of HPV vaccination for girls between the ages of 9 and 14, highlighting its role in safeguarding their future health and well-being.

“I am fully in support of the initiatives that prioritize the health of our girls, access to the HPV vaccine is essential in protecting them against cervical cancer and ensuring they lead healthy lives. As advocates for women and girls, it is our collective responsibility to ensure that every girl has access to this life-saving vaccine,” stated Dr. Adeola Ekine.

The presence and support of Comrade Adeola Adekunle underscore the commitment of NAWOJ B Zone and its affiliates to championing women’s health initiatives and empowering communities with accurate health information.

Aderonke Akinwole, the Social and Behaviour Change Specialist of UNICEF, emphasized the pivotal role of NAWOJ as an association in supporting the vaccination of girls between the ages of 9 and 14. She commended NAWOJ for its dedication to promoting women’s health and urged continued advocacy for HPV vaccine accessibility.

The National Assistant Secretary of the Association, Hajia Aisha Cole, also reiterated the association’s commitment to supporting HPV vaccination initiatives and empowering girls to lead healthy lives.

UNICEF Health Immunisation Officer in Oyo State, Mrs. Janet Tanimola, made the call during the sensitisation meeting on HPV Vaccine in Ijebu Ode on Thursday.

Tanimola said that Phase one campaign and vaccination commenced on October 2023 in 16 states while the phase two campaign would start in May 2024, targeting female children between ages nine and 14.

According to her, by 2025 UNICEF will begin routine vaccination of HPV for nine year-old girl children.

She said that although girl children of aged 9 to 14 who were omitted during the campaign, would be eligible to get vaccinated from any health facilities closer to them.

The Commissioner for Information,Oyo State, Prince Dotun Oyelade, who was represented by Mr. Rotimi Babalola, the Director, Press and Public Relation/ UNICEF Director, Oyo State, said they engaged the media on the campaign because they cherished women and girls welfare in the country.

Oyelade restated the role of media in attitudinal change in the society and pleaded with the women journalists s to support in extending the campaign through their reportage.

UNICEF Monitoring and Evacuation Specialist, Mr Olusola Olaonipekun, urged the media to spread the message in ensuring that all girl children were vaccinated.

In his presentation, Mr Olaoye Olarinde, a Health Educator, lamented the high rate and heavy burden of cervical cancer cases in Nigeria annually.

Olarinde, of the Oyo State Primary Healthcare Board, disclosed that 12, 075 new cases are being recorded every year and 8,000 persons die from cervical cancer every year.

He defined HPV as a sexually transmitted infection that infected the internal and external areas of a woman’s genitals and usually transmitted through skin-to-skin contact.

The advocacy dialogue meeting served as a platform to address misconceptions, combat misinformation, and develop actionable strategies to enhance HPV vaccine accessibility, particularly among marginalized communities. Participants and stakeholders hailed the event as a crucial step towards mitigating the impact of cervical cancer in the region and promoting a healthier future for women and girls.

NAWOJ B Zone remains steadfast in its commitment to promoting women’s health and well-being, advocating for HPV vaccine accessibility, and empowering communities to make informed health decisions.

Lilian Ario
NAWOJ Lagos,

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