• MoHAP highlights importance of regular examination and obtaining vaccinations to prevent disease.
• MoHAP includes HPV vaccine within national vaccination programme for females in 2018.
• The vaccination programme targets female school students from the age of 13-14, with the program achieving a coverage rate of 82% for two doses.
• HPV Vaccine to be included for male school students aged 13-14 years.
Dubai February 28th, 2023 The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has organized a scientific symposium in Ras Al Khaimah to discuss global developments in combating the human papilloma virus (HPV) and cervical cancer.
The event brought experts from government health entities, private medical sector, and international speakers. HE Dr Hussain Abdul Rahman Al Rand, Assistant Undersecretary for the Public Health Sector, and Abdul Aziz Al Zaabi, Member of the Board of Directors of the Emirates Health Services, attended the event.
Also present were Khalid Al Shehhi, Director of the Representative Office, MoHAP-Ras Al Khaimah, Dr. Nada Al Marzouqi, Director of the Department of Public Health and Prevention, Dr. Buthina Bin Belaila, Head of the Non-communicable Disease Department, Prof. Humaid Al Shamsi, Director of the Medical Oncology Service at Burjeel Medical City, Dr. Badriya Al Shehhi, Head of the Immunization Department at the Abu Dhabi Public Health Center (ADPHC), Dr. Mohamed Farghaly, Consultant for the Dubai Health Insurance Corporation (DHIC), as well as a group of experts and specialists.
Policy development & scientific research
The scientific event was inaugurated with a speech by Al Rand, reaffirming that the UAE is a leading country regionally and internationally in the fight against the human papilloma virus and cervical cancer. He attributed the country’s success in this field to the relentless efforts made by various health authorities in the country, which have launched and implemented programs and initiatives that follow the highest standards of scientific research.
'The UAE is committed to developing health policies based on evidence-based research and has established national strategic programs that set, develop, and organize standards and frameworks to combat diseases.' Al Rand said.
Al Rand stated that in 2018, MoHAP voluntarily included a vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV) for females in the National Vaccination Programme, based on the recommendation of the National Immunization Technical Advisory Groups (NITAGs) and relevant national committees.
'This decision was driven by the need to highlight the importance of early detection and treatment in preventing around 75% of cervical cancer cases, which can escalate to advanced stages if not promptly addressed. The UAE is the first country in the Eastern Mediterranean region to provide HPV vaccination for schoolgirls from the age of 13–14, making significant strides in this field,' he added.
Al Rand also noted that the human papillomavirus (HPV) immunization programme will be expanded to include male school students aged 13 to 14. This move is aimed at achieving optimal immunity and is a groundbreaking step in the Eastern Mediterranean Region.
For her part, Dr Nada Al Marzouqi stressed that the MoHAP’s decision to expand the scope of HPV vaccination is a step in the right direction towards helping enhance community protection from this disease, given that HPV is also the leading cause of oral and pharyngeal cancer, genital cancer, and other diseases.
As part of the Scientific Day event, a dialogue session was organized to discuss the efforts being made to sustain and accelerate the plan to eradicate the human papillomavirus. The session featured several prominent experts in the field, including Dr. Badriya Al Shehhi, Dr. Buthina Bin Belaila, Prof. Humaid Al Shamsi, and Dr. Mohamed Farghaly.
The Scientific Day activities were brought to a close by Dr. Nada Al Marzouqi, who delivered a speech outlining the outputs and results of the day's discussions. She emphasized the significance of the event in enhancing the quality of life for society in the UAE.