GUWAHATI: The Noida based National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research (NICPR) has decided to study the Sikkim model of vaccination to reduce the risk of cervical cancer.
Notably, Sikkim government rolled out the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination programme across the State from July 30. Accordingly, in Sikkim, about 25,500 girls —almost 98% of the girls in the age group of 9-13 years — were covered under a vaccination drive by August 15.
Hence, the NICPR, which has been demanding that the use of the vaccine be brought under a government programme in all the states, will send a team to the state of Sikkim to evaluate its programme and how it can be replicated in other states.
In this regard, NICPR director Ravi Mehrotra said that Sikkim had tried to cover all the girl children under a similar vaccination programme about five years ago but did not succeed. “From August 1, they started administering the vaccine to all the children between 9 and 13 years. As on August 15, they covered 98% of the children,” he said adding that the institute would now evaluate the programme as an external agency.
The NICPR was initially established as Cytology Research Centre (CRC) by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in 1979 and was elevated to the level of an Institute in 1989. It was granted national status in 2016 acknowledging its mandate and contributions towards cancer prevention. Accordingly, the institute has broadened its horizon to cater to prevention of prevalent cancers in the country.
Presently, Sikkim has the unique distinction to become the first state in the country by launching an ambitious campaign to tackle cervical cancer among women in the State.
Punjab has also launched a similar programme as a pilot project in two districts.