SANTO DOMINGO – The Dominican Republic’s government launched a campaign on Monday to vaccinate about 200,000 schoolgirls between the ages of 9-10 against the Human papillomavirus (HPV), Health Minister Altagracia Guzman Marcelino said.
“The Education and Health ministries are coordinating their efforts to prevent cervical cancer and improve access to health services, particularly at the primary and secondary level of care,” Guzman Marcelino said.
Poor Dominican women are the most likely segment of the population to die from cervical cancer because they cannot afford the 8,000 pesos ($168) that the vaccination costs, the health minister said.
The lack of affordability of the vaccine means that a large percentage of the 2.6 million women between the ages of 25 and 74 in the country are vulnerable to HPV, Guzman Marcelino said.
Cervical and uterine cancer have a high mortality rate and the majority of patients are in an advanced stage when diagnosed, “make treatment more difficult and costly, and increasing the mortality rate among women of child-bearing age,” the health minister said.
Guzman Marcelino thanked Education Minister Andres Navarro for his assistance in launching the HPV vaccination campaign.
A total of 67 countries regularly conduct vaccination campaigns for HPV, the most common sexually transmitted infection.