Kenya’s fight against cervical cancer has received a shot in the arm as the government prepares to roll out the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) virus vaccine on Friday.

The Ministry of Health will roll out the HPV vaccine against cervical cancer in Mombasa county. Speaking to the media Wednesday, Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki said cervical cancer – one of the leading causes of death among women – is preventable through vaccination.

“Cancer of the Cervix, is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women in Kenya. Nine women die from Cervical Cancer in Kenya alone, every day. This is one too many! Cervical Cancer is now preventable through vaccination,” Kariuki said.

The vaccine targets approximately 800,000 girls aged ten years and it will be administered free of charge in two doses six months apart.

Benda Kithaka, a civil society representative working with communities to eliminate cancer, said the vaccine is safe and aims at protecting adolescent girls against cervical cancer infection.

“HPV vaccine is safe and efficient and will be available to all 10-year-old girls. Let’s not sit and watch, save our girls,” said Kithaka.

The cervical cancer vaccination will be incorporated into the routine immunization schedule for children, with Kenya becoming 16th African country and 115th nation globally to do so.

Kariuki said her Ministry was working closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other agencies in the roll-out of the nationwide HPV vaccine initiative.