The Ministry of Health plans to launch a major cancer prevention initiative later this month among Grade Six Students.
The initiative is being preceded by an education campaign.
The plan is to introduce the students throughout the Island to the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine that protects against cervical cancer and other conditions caused by the virus.
The Ministry of Health has said that the Ministry of Education has already been engaged in the process along with school principals.
The human papilloma virus infects the epidermal cells of cutaneous and mucosal skin and is primarily transmitted through sex and skin to skin contact, according to medical officials.
It is said to be one of the primary causes of cervical cancer.
Assistant Principal Nursing Officer, Tecla Jn Baptiste, told St Lucia Times that the aim is to begin administering the HPV vaccine to students of Grade Six between the end of January to early February.
“The vaccine is being introduced as a cancer prevention strategy and all of that is based on our burden of disease because we have seen an increase in the numbers of cervical cancer,” Jn Baptiste explained.
She disclosed that cervical cancer is the second leading cause of mortality among women here.
The Assistant Principal Nursing Officer noted that younger women are now being affected by the disease.
She told St Lucia Times that both boys and girls in Grade Six will be vaccinated.
“It’s not only against cervical cancer but any HPV related conditions like warts, which are also caused by the HPV virus,” the senior nurse explained.
She said two doses of the vaccine are given over a six-month period.
Jn Baptiste said the vaccine provides a lifetime coverage.