The uphill battle to convince people around the world to take life-saving vaccines was one of the major issues that emerged at the World Economic Forum in Cape Town last week.
A panel of experts discussed the Wellcome Global Monitor - the biggest survey into public attitudes to science and health, based on a survey of 140 000 people in 140 countries.
One of the main questions in the survey was about how much people in Africa trust vaccines.
While overall the study found that “in high-income regions, there is less certainty about the safety of vaccines”, the study revealed that people in Africa have the highest confidence in vaccines globally.
More than 3000 women in South Africa die from cervical cancer every year, and human papillomavirus (HPV), which is a viral infection, is 100% responsible for cervical cancer.
One of the best methods of prevention is the HPV vaccine.
Dr Masangu Mulongo, a research medical officer at the Clinical HIV Research Unit (CHRU), says: “While the HPV vaccination can go a long way in reducing cervical cancer, not everyone is vaccinated.”
To mark International Gynaecological Awareness Day on 10th September, the CHRU and health NGO Right to Care joined forces to raise awareness about cervical cancer.
Meanwhile, there is an ongoing provincial government health campaign to administer the vaccine. The drive began on August 6 and is scheduled to run until September 20, targeting all Grade 4 girls who are 9 years old and attending public schools.
Nadia Ferreira, a spokesperson for the provincial Health Department, said: “It’s a World Health Organisation-recommended vaccine and the Medicines Control Council of SA has confirmed that it is safe.”