Committed to turning Indonesia into a country free of cervical cancer, the Jakarta Provincial Government in early October provided the city’s fifth-grade female students with free vaccines to protect them from the disease. The capital served as a pilot project; if successful, the vaccine will be included in the national vaccine programme next year.
Cervical cancer is caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), also responsible for genital warts and precancerous conditions on the vulva, vagina and anus. The HPV Quadrivalent vaccine, created from genetically-engineered protein mixed with sterilized water, is proven to significantly lower the number of cervical cancer and other precancerous conditions.
The vaccine was delivered through the Bulan Imunisasi Anak Sekolah (BIAS) programme in which elementary students are given immunization shots for a month. The HPV vaccine is ideally given to young girls between 9 and 13 as their strong immune system will allow the vaccine to work more effectively.
“One out of 1,000 females suffers from cervical cancer, and statistically speaking, 73.5 percent of the patients come to the hospital when they are already at stage III or IV,” Himpunan Onkologi Ginekologi Indonesia (Indonesian Society of Gynecologic Oncology) Chairman Prof. Dr. dr. Andriyono, SpOG(K) said at the cervical cancer press conference. “However, now that the vaccine has been made available, the disease has become preventable.”
Adult females who want to get the vaccine shot can do so at regular medical facilities. Three shots cost between IDR 2,000,000 and 2,500,000.