70% of India’s urban population hasn’t taken HPV vaccine yet: Experts

All preteens need HPV vaccination as HPV infections can cause cervical cancer later in life

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New Delhi: Children and adolescents tend to have a milder disease compared to adults if they get infected with the COVID-19 virus. However, they are still struggling to cope with the pandemic even after the deadly wave of COVID-19 seems to get over. Lots of unprecedented things like curfews, closures, and lockdowns have taken a toll on their emotional wellbeing. Now, the concern arises how to prioritise their health in post COVID times.
Throwing light on ‘prioritising adolescents’ health in post COVID times’ during Health4All Episode-27, Dr Hema Diwakar, Former President, FOGSI said, “Right kind of nutrition is essential to ensure adolescent health in post COVID times as adolescent girls face more problems than boys. When the menstruation in adolescent girls starts, they face a lot of problems as they hesitate to discuss the bodily changes they undergo during this period. Therefore, a 5-point-agenda for adolescents’ health is important to be taken into account. 1) Right kind of nutrition as it improves immunity, 2) Regular exercise, 3) Parents should take care of adolescent girls’ health during the onset of menstruation, 4) Emotional support to keep the mental health in check, 5) Vaccination of all types including HPV vaccination.”
Adding further, Dr Hema said “Still, 70% of the urban population hasn’t taken the HPV vaccine yet. HPV vaccination is recommended at ages 11–12 years. These vaccines can be given starting at the age of 9 years. All preteens need HPV vaccination, so they are protected from HPV infections that can cause cancer later in life. HPV vaccines protect against cervical cancer. It is better to screen the mother and vaccinate the daughter. Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI) has announced ‘Cervical Mukt Bharat. One of the reasons behind the rising infertility cases in India is late marriages.”
Speaking during Health4All Episode-27, Dr Sonia Rawat, Director, Department of Health & Wellness, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi said, “Eating right is paramount for the overall health and wellness of adolescents. Therefore, they should focus more on a good diet like milk, ghee and fruits as these are formative years. The mental state during adolescence is very delicate as they go through a drastic physical and mental transformation wherein moral and emotional support of parents are very much required. But unfortunately, nowadays, adolescents have no space to talk about their problems as their parents don’t spend quality time with them as both are working. Therefore, the parents need to spare some quality time and spend with their adolescent children.”
Emphasising the adolescents’ counselling during Health4All Episode-27, Ms Niyamat Bawa, Head Psychologist, EPsyClinic said, “Our society needs to clear its vision regarding the adolescent education and awareness about general health or physical and mental health. We need to eliminate the aspects of stigma from the lives of adolescents so that they might feel like sharing their trauma and bad experiences with everyone they approach. Unwanted social stigma resists the adolescents to speak up their hearts. As a society, we need to create a safe space for adolescents to ensure their physical, and mental health.”
Deliberating on the socio-cultural transformation adolescents are going through nowadays, during Health4All Episode-27, Nilam Misha, Psychologist said, “Adolescents are influenced by their peer pressure and they indulge in unwanted youthful follies. They need counselling to understand what is wrong and what is right wherein the role of parents has increased significantly.”