The North West provincial government has overseen the rollout of the first of two doses of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccinations in the province, Premier Thandi Modise's office reported.
Read: 7 facts about HPV
"The community mobilisation and consultation with school communities has ensured that parents are informed to make healthy lifelong decisions for their children," the premier said in a statement.
"The HPV vaccination campaign is an investment in the health of our young girls and that of future generation of women from contracting cancer of the cervix."
Read: How cancer of the cervix can be prevented
The provincial government had budgeted R6 million for the rollout of the vaccination, with the first dose being administered between February 17 and March 14.
This was done through the integrated school health programme, which was implemented by the sub-district school health teams.
Modise's spokesman Lesiba Moses Kgwele said for adequate lifetime protection against cervical cancer to be achieved, the World Health Organisation recommended a minimum of two doses be administered.
Extension to other groups
These should be done with a six months interval between doses before a girl became sexually active.
"Girls aged nine and above in grade 4 in all public schools across the province who received the first dose will receive the second dose, to be administered from September 29 to October 24 2014."
From next year, the target would be extended to other groups, but girls in grade 4 each year would be the main target group.
Read: What is the outcome of cancer of the cervix?
In South Africa, cervical cancer was ranked number 13 on the list of causes of deaths among women, resulting in 67 000 cases and around 3500 deaths annually, said Kgwele.
It was among the top ten causes of death for women above the age of 45 in the North West.
The provincial executive council commended parents in the province for accepting the rollout of the vaccinations.
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(Picture:HPV from Shutterstock)