May 10, 2024


3 min read

Queen hails progress in arresting HPV scourge

Queen hails progress in arresting HPV scourge

Queen 'Masenate Mohato Seeiso

Story highlights

    More than 139,000 girls aged 9-14 have received their first dose of HPV vaccine
    Queen also commended parents, and education ministry for their roles in eliminating cervical cancer

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QUEEN ’Masenate Mohato Seeiso recently applauded the Ministry of Health and its partners for achieving over 90 percent coverage in Lesotho's Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination campaign.

According to reports, more than 139,000 girls aged between nine and 14 have received at least their first dose of the HPV vaccine.

The Queen commended parents, as well as the Ministry of Education and Training, for their vital roles in pushing forward efforts to eliminate cervical cancer.

This success highlights Lesotho’s commitment to improving the health of its girls and women.

The Queen’s remarks came during an award ceremony this week that recognised the top-performing districts in the HPV vaccine campaigns spanning from 2022 to 2024.

She described the achievement as exceptional, made possible by the dedication of healthcare workers both at the national and district levels and the unwavering support from parents and carers.

“I was informed that this achievement was made possible by our dedicated healthcare workers, at the national and district levels, delivering services to eligible girls in and out of school.”

She added: “The achievement again would not have been possible without the dedication of the Ministry of Education and Training, which undeniably supported the initiative,” she said.

The Queen emphasised the importance of ongoing immunisation efforts as an effective means to protect individuals, communities, and future generations from vaccine-preventable diseases.

She said some community members, particularly the youth, cannot access vaccination services independently and called on healthcare providers to ensure these families' vaccinations are up-to-date.

Furthermore, the Queen urged the Ministry of Health to make vaccination information and services accessible to all Basotho and called for increased fatherly involvement in promoting the health and well-being of women and children.

She reaffirmed her commitment to supporting initiatives aimed at safeguarding the health rights of both girls and boys.

The project was initiated in the 2012–13 financial year with the goal of enhancing the procurement of new vaccines, vaccines used in campaigns, and underutilised vaccines.

The Manager of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) at the Ministry of Health, ’Malefaso Mosese noted that a variety of implementation strategies were employed during the vaccination campaign.

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These included school-based, community-based campaigns, and services at health centres.

Mosese reported that since 2022, district performance has generally been good.

In 2022, Thaba-Tseka had the lowest performance at 59 percent, while Butha-Buthe achieved the highest at 98 percent.

In 2023, all districts saw improved performance, with Maseru being the lowest at 72 percent and Butha-Buthe again the highest at 99 percent.

Mosese further noted that up to February 2024, districts like Berea and Butha-Buthe performed exceptionally well, exceeding 100 percent in some cases, while Thaba-Tseka was the lowest at 80 percent.

"Despite challenges posed by the terrain, the cumulative performance of most districts has been commendable," she concluded.

The re-introduction of the HPV vaccination in 2022 aimed to mitigate the burden of cervical cancer, which remains the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women in Lesotho.

This move was part of a global strategy launched in November 2020 to eliminate cervical cancer worldwide.

The HPV vaccination was first introduced in 2012 but was discontinued due to a lack of funding.

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