Irish Medical Times – 8 February 2010
By Niamh Mullen
The Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) has received international recognition for its campaign to raise awareness of cervical cancer in Ireland.
The charitable organisation scooped up the Pearl of Wisdom Award, which is given by the European Cervical Cancer Association to individuals and groups that have made exceptional efforts to prevent cervical cancer in their communities.
Niall Behan, CEO of the IFPA, said: “Now a cervical screening programme is in place, and plans for a vaccination programme are in the pipeline, we’re in a position to almost eliminate cervical cancer in a generation.”
The award was presented to the IFPA at the Annual Cervical Cancer Summit in Brussels and coincided with European Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, which ran from January 24 to 30.
Working in partnership with the National Cervical Screening Programme, CervicalCheck, the IFPA distributed 20,000 Pearl of Wisdom campaign badges nationwide. Meanwhile, the Minister for Health has confirmed that it will not be possible to refund the costs of HPV vaccinations administered privately before the decision was made on a State-funded scheme.
Speaking to the Dáil last week, Minister Mary Harney said the HSE was committed to starting this campaign during the current school year. “This will involve the free vaccination of up to 30,000 girls, mainly in school settings, and an announcement of the details of the full programme involved will be made by the HSE in the near future.
“The programme will continue with vaccine being offered to all girls in first year in secondary school each year, but it’s not proposed to extend the vaccination programme to other classes at present,” she added.