SAMARAHAN: Female students who have started on the free Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) immunisation programme must complete it for optimum benefits.
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) deputy vice-chancellor Assoc Prof Mohd Fadzil Abdul Rahman yesterday reminded students to undergo all three doses of the programme, scheduled one month apart from the first dose to the second, and six months from the first dose to the third.
“The government is spending RM50 million on this programme which provides free vaccine to protect women from cervical cancer.
“Students undergoing the programme must complete the three doses as advised,” he said during its launch at Unimas campus.
“Take health matters seriously and follow the prescription,” he said.
The vaccine provides protection against HPV virus types identified to be the cause of cervical cancer.
“Currently only 150 students registered for the vaccination though our records show we have about 951 female students born in 1993,” he said.
“We encourage all female students born in 1993 to undergo the vaccination which costs about RM180 to RM200 per dosage. Malaysia is the first nation in South East Asia to provide it free,” he said.
Mohd Fadzil said the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended the vaccine be given to those aged 12 to 26 years.
“From discussion with the technical committee for the programme and through other countries’ experience, those aged 18 were chosen,” he revealed.
Unimas is holding the programme until May 2013 and it is open to female Malaysian students aged 18, not pregnant and have no history of allergy to the vaccine.
According to the National Cancer Institute, cervical cancer is diagnosed in 500,000 women worldwide each year and claims the lives of half of them annually.
Malaysia Cancer Registry shows cervical cancer as the third most common cancer among Malaysian women.
At least 15 high-risk HPV types have been identified that cause cervical cancer with HPV types 16 and 18 causing about 70 per cent of all cervical cancers.
Vaccination can prevent cervical cancer resulting from HPV types 16 and 18. HPV infections also cause some cancers of the anus, vulva, vagina, penis and oropharynx.