Ikorodu Parents’ Forum Partners National Agency In Sensitising Parents Over Vaccination For School Girls

Mariam Akinloye

The Executive body of the Parents’ Forum, Ikorodu Division, has partnered the National Orientation Agency (NOA), in sensitizing parents on Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (HPV), which its introduction has generated insinuations among them.

Human Papillomavirus is a sexually transmitted disease that causes cervical cancer and other HPV-related diseases such as skin and vaginal warts, and the government has said that HPV vaccination at an early age is highly important as it provides the best protection, hence, the campaign to give all eligible girls injectable HPV vaccine on the arm, for protection against cervical cancer.

At the sensitization exercise, which took place at the Local Government Education Authority (LGEA) Secretariat, Ikorodu, the representatives of the Parents’ body, led by its Divisional Chairman, Mr Jenrade Mokolade, said that the exercise was at their instance in order to have good knowledge of the vaccine and properly communicate it to parents and allay their fears.

The programme, which was meant to hold between September 25th and September 30, 2023, in Lagos, has now been postponed to October 2023.

“The seminar of today is very essential and important, because anything that has to do with health of our children, we are supposed to be the ones to hear it first and be educated about it”, Mr Jenrade said.

“But when we heard about it that our girls will be given a vaccination to prevent stain disease, there were so many reactions outside, not even in Ikorodu alone, but Lagos State generally. In other to nip the fears, we have to invite the National Orientation Agency (NOA), to our monthly meeting when we heard they are the one going around to educate people, particularly the excos of the Parents’ Forum in Ikorodu Division, on the need and importance of the vaccine.

“We are glad that they have done their best, and we have seen reasons why our girls should also have that vaccination. I am happy to know that our girls, when giving the vaccination, will also be prevented from stain disease that is likely to manifest in their lives in the next 20 years”, the Parents’ Forum Chairman said.

Jenrade also charged the government to always carry parents along in their policies and programmes that have to do with the students, before its implementation.

“I want to appeal to the government that whatever they are trying to do that has to do with our children or the pupils/students, the Parents’ Forum’s executives should be part of the stakeholders to implement such decision, because we are very close to our people, we know what is happening, we hear their voices here and there, and we should be able to relate their voices on whatever decision the government is bringing to us. I think that will go a long way to help us”, he appealed.

“I have directed our members to return to their various schools and areas to also sensitise other parents on the importance of the vaccine, and the need to give their consent so that their children, especially girls between 9 and 14 years, would be vaccinated”, he added.

Mrs Adejoke Ologunagba, Chief Orientation and Mobilisation Officer, NOA, Ikorodu Local Government, said that the HPV is good to prevent girls from developing cancer diseases, when they attained adulthood.

She clarified that the vaccination is not intended to de-populate the country, as it has been rumoured by some people.

“The benefit of HPV is to prevent cancer, and there are different type of cancers that can be prevented, like Cervical, Genital and others, among our people. But the government, at this present time, is targeting 9 to 14 years old girls”, Mrs Adejoke said.

“It will prevent our girls from contacting the disease by the time they are sexually active and grown up, the vaccination will reduce the rate of mortality among women, because the mortality of women is on the high side. Cases of Cervical and Virgina cancer among our women are very high. With the vaccine, by the time our girls are adults, they won’t be experiencing this.

“Cancer is a life threatening disease that most times, victims end up dying. That is why the government is catching them young; before they are sexually active. Once they are given this vaccine, it will prevent cancer.

“My advice to the parent is that they should give their consent to it to make their girl-child between the age of 9 and 14, to be vaccinated, and they will have to tell them the evil of cancer diseases, and that without being vaccinated, they can be a victim of cancer which nobody prays to have.

While emphasizing the importance of the vaccine, Mrs Adejoke also stated that HPV is for everybody, and will be made available in every community, public places and schools.

“They should pass down the information to others. They should speak to their neighbours, and if they see anybody that is saying is a scam or that it is meant to reduce the population and to cause infertility, such statement is a lie. The vaccination is just to prevent cancer; prevent future problems so that our girl-child would not die of cancer when they grow up”, she said.

“The programme is for everybody; both the students in private and public schools. It is also for the people, whether in school or out school, that is why we will go to the market and garage. It is for children in and out of school, those at the vocational centres.

” There will be public location for girls outside school to get vaccinated. The vaccination will be taking to the General Hospitals and Health Centers. It will be in every community. It will be like the routine immunization that they carry around”, she said.

Mrs Funmilayo Olanipekun, Secretary, Parents’ Forum, Ifelodun Senior High School, Oke Agbo in Gberigbe, also speaking with our reporter, expressed her happiness over the sensitization.

“I am so happy to witness this seminar, because it has really opened our eyes to a lot of things that we don’t know before coming here. We heard a lot of rumours; we heard a lot of things that this immunisation vaccine of a thing that the government is bringing out, that it is a way to control birth rate”, she said.

“We have heard a lot of rumours, but coming here today has really opened my eyes, and it has educated me a lot as the Secretary of the the Parents’ Forum, to organise another seminar that would be used in enlightening the students in the school”.

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