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by Thandeka Moyo, Health Reporter 28/05/19

SCHOOL girls in Bulawayo yesterday started getting a Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine to avert the risk of contracting the deadly cervical cancer which kills four women daily in Zimbabwe. The Bulawayo City Council in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Child Care is running the life saving programme in the city, which started in other parts of the country last year. She said the theme for 2019 is: “Cervical Cancer Prevention is Everyone’s Responsibility: Get Girls Vaccinated Against HPV and runs under the slogan – “I am vaccinated, I am protected from Cervical Cancer”. Mrs Mpofu said the vaccine is safe and can be given to either males or females as both sexes can be affected by HPV which is a common sexually transmitted virus. According to the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and Related Cancers in Zimbabwe report, all women who are 15 years and above are at risk of developing cervical cancer. Cervical cancer has since overtaken HIV as the number one killer disease among women in Zimbabwe HPV infection occurs when the virus enters one’s body, usually through a cut, abrasion or small tear in the skin. The virus is transferred primarily by skin-to-skin contact.