The Delhi Commission for Women has initiated a request for a comprehensive report from the Director General of Health Services regarding the accessibility of HPV vaccines aimed at preventing cervical cancer among women. The commission strongly advocates for the provision of these vaccines without any cost.
Cervical cancer stands as a prominent cause of cancer-related fatalities among women in India. A statement released by the commission highlighted that the country witnesses approximately 1.25 lakh new cases being diagnosed annually, resulting in over 75,000 deaths.
This form of cancer can be averted through routine screenings and the administration of vaccines targeting the human papilloma virus (HPV) infection, which is a primary contributor to the development of the disease.
Presently, the cost of the HPV vaccine in India ranges from Rs 2,800 to Rs 3,299 per dose for Gardasil and Cervarix, respectively. Notably, each vaccine regimen necessitates a minimum of three doses. Consequently, a substantial sum of Rs 8,400 or Rs 9,897 is required for a girl or woman to receive the complete vaccination against cervical cancer. The commission acknowledged that this financial burden is significant for a majority of individuals in the country.
Addressing the issue, Swati Maliwal, Chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women, asserted, “Diagnosis of this disease can be accomplished through regular screenings and the administration of HPV vaccines, which play a pivotal role in its prevention. However, these vaccines come at a high cost and it is imperative that they are made available to women and girls without any financial burden. It is vital for the central government to address this matter and ensure convenient access to HPV vaccines for the well-being of women and girls on a large scale.”
The commission has taken the initiative to issue a notice to the Director General of Health Services, urging a comprehensive and detailed report. Additionally, they have requested information pertaining to awareness campaigns and initiatives regarding cervical cancer and HPV vaccines, which are currently being undertaken by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Furthermore, the Director General of Health Services has been tasked with providing insight into the measures and strategies employed by the ministry to combat cervical cancer within India.
(With PTI inputs)