In a bid to erase conspiracy theories and disbelief surrounding the HPV Vaccine while spreading the right information, the Lagos State Ministry of Youth and Social Development has collaborated with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to organise a one-day sensitisation for Local Government Areas young influencers.

In her opening remarks at the programme held on Thursday at the Ikeja Youth Centre, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Pharm (Mrs.) Toyin Oke-Osanyintolu said the State Government decided to collaborate with UNICEF to equip the young influencers with the requisite knowledge that will help them to disabuse the minds of those who have been misinformed about the Human Papillomavirus(HPV) Vaccine.

She said, “The Ministry believes in the strength of the youths and their ability to network. This is what we want to leverage to cascade the right information about the HPV Vaccine which is to mitigate the spread of the Human Papillomavirus.

This is an intervention aimed at avoiding preventable deaths be it among males or females. We don’t know who is the next target of this virus. But taking the vaccine is a sure safeguard against HPV”.

“The THEMES Plus Agenda of Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu is to ensure that we have a healthy populace in a smart city. Also, the young influencers participating in this programme are to reach out to those at the grassroots. We cannot afford to leave anyone behind in the process of building a greater Lagos of our dream”, Pharm Oke-Osanyintolu added.

The UNICEF, Lagos Field Officer, Mrs. Aderonke Akinola Akinwole, speaking on behalf of the agency stated that the partnership with the Lagos State Government was aimed at ensuring that the young influencers were moved from the position of ignorance to that of knowledge.
The UNICEF Representative said, “We want the young influencers to help disabuse the minds of those who have been misinformed in our society.

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Despite the rumours being peddled about HPV vaccines, our young influencers can leverage the knowledge this sensitisation will give them to positively affect their communities. As HPV Vaccine Champions, the young influencers have been given the tool to work with in terms of knowledge. They are expected to employ their voice via social media and other avenues to make a positive difference”.

In her presentation, the Director of Health Education and Promotion Services, District VI, Mrs. Awodunmila Dupe Stella disclosed that the essence of the sensitisation programme was to equip the young influencers with adequate knowledge about HPV.

“Human Papillomavirus is mostly associated with the males but the females stand a risk because the virus spreads through sexual activity. This sensitisation is an intervention to inculcate the culture of routine vaccination in Lagosians.

Prevention is not only better but cheaper and safer than cure in this regard. The HPV Vaccine itself is safe, effective and free in Lagos State today. The vaccine will help the females to guard against the virus which causes cancer or Human Papillomavirus”, Mrs Awodunmila stated.

On his part, the Director of the Youth Department, MYSD, Mr. Abdullateef Saka, said the sensitisation was to bridge the yawning gap between ignorance and knowledge by giving the right information to the young influencers, adding that an effective feedback mechanism would be put in place to monitor performance and progress in the various communities.

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