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IFPA welcomes Minister Harney’s announcement on a Cervical Cancer Vaccination Programme

By January 15, 2010News

Press Release: 15 January 2010

The Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) has welcomed the Government’s announcement today (15/01/10) that a cervical cancer vaccination programme for all girls in first year in secondary school will commence this year.

The combination of population-based screening and school-based vaccination programmes has the potential to eliminate cervical cancer in a generation, said Niall Behan, Chief Executive of the IFPA. The HPV vaccine is instrumental in the fight against cervical cancer because it is almost 100 per cent effective in preventing the two types of human papilloma viruses that cause 70 per cent of all cervical cancers.

The IFPA urges the Minister to follow the recommendations of The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) for a school-based vaccination programme, which is the only way to achieve the required level of coverage and minimise health inequalities. According to HIQA, a school-based vaccination programme has the potential to save 52 lives a year.

It is important that the implementation of the programme involves a properly funded education and awareness campaign. This will ensure high uptake of the vaccine and also explain the need for screening later in life.

This announcement is particularly timely just over a week before European Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, which will take place from 24-30 January, 2010 As the lead member of the European Cervical Cancer Association (ECCA) in Ireland, the IFPA will distribute 20,000 Pearl of Wisdom badges to promote the campaign and to ensure that Irish women become better informed about cervical cancer.

ENDS

About IFPA: The Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) has been to the fore in setting the agenda for sexual and reproductive rights in Ireland for the last 40 years. A national cervical screening service and school-based vaccination programme has been a long-standing policy priority for the IFPA.

The IFPA is a member of the European Cervical Cancer Association and is a registered smear taker in the CervicalCheck programme. 4,476 women were screened for cervical cancer at the IFPA’s two clinics in Dublin City Centre and Tallaght in 2009.