Interim Budget 2024: Govt Shifts Focus On Cervical Cancer, Vaccine Announced For Girls Aged 9 To 14; Medical Experts Laud Move

Interim Budget 2024: Govt Shifts Focus On Cervical Cancer, Vaccine Announced For Girls Aged 9 To 14; Medical Experts Laud Move

There are also plans to set up more medical colleges and to bring existing schemes of maternal and child healthcare under one comprehensive programme for frictionless implementation.

Swapnil MishraUpdated: Friday, February 02, 2024, 02:47 PM IST
article-image
Representative Image | File

The interim budget presented on Thursday by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has come as a boon for women, with a focus on vaccination against cervical cancer for girls aged 9 to 14.

Moreover the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will soon roll out U-Win, a new app for managing immunisations. There are also plans to set up more medical colleges and to bring existing schemes of maternal and child healthcare under one comprehensive programme for frictionless implementation.

Vaccination for prevention of cervical cancer is definitely a welcome move, as it is the second most prevalent cancer affecting women in India, said Dr Prathamesh Pai, Director and H&N Surgeon, Punyashlok Ahilyadevi Holkar Head & Neck Cancer Institute of India. "Right steps in this direction can help eliminate the risk of this cancer," he said.

"The increase in focus on public healthcare by providing insurance schemes, as well as through maternal and child health programmes, is the need of the hour. Better healthcare is essential for a country’s growth and will play a vital role in India’s journey of becoming a developed nation. Therefore, an increase in expenditure on healthcare should remain a focus of the government," he said.

The Finance Minister’s announcement comes against the backdrop of India having a population of 511.4 million women aged 15 years and older, who are at high risk of developing cervical cancer. It is caused by certain types of Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which is a group of 200 related viruses. HPV infection is common and is sexually transmitted and highrisk HPVs can cause several types of cancer, including cervical cancer.

The budget announcement lays emphasis on women’s health and with all maternal and child healthcare schemes coming under one comprehensive programme, the collective vision of Healthy Women, Healthy Pregnancies and Healthy Future is turning into reality, said Sanjiv Navangul, Managing Director and CEO, Bharat Serums and Vaccines Ltd (BSV).

"HPV vaccinations for girls in the 9-14 age group for the prevention of cervical cancer, immunisation of children, and schemes such as Poshan 2.0 will help improve nutrition delivery and improve early childhood care and development. The government’s efforts to build domestic capacities will augment the existing healthcare infrastructure and ensure that healthcare reaches every home in India," said Navangul.

"All people ages 9 to 45 can get the HPV vaccine to protect against genital warts as well as HPV-related cancer. It’s recommended that children get the vaccine between the age of 9 and 14, so that they are fully protected years before they become sexually active," said Nishant Mishra, Chief Marketing Officer, Apollo Health and Lifestyle Limited.

As the world gets used to the new normal after the pandemic, India is now ready to battle cervical cancer with its first indigenously developed quadrivalent Human Papilloma Virus (qHPV) vaccine to curb the growing number of cervical cancer cases among women in India. The indigenously developed vaccine is affordable and will help curb the growing number of cervical cancer cases in India. Total expenditure on health has been increased from Rs79,221 crore in 2023-24 to Rs90,171 crore in 2024-25.

"This is certainly a remarkable development for the healthcare industry. Cervical cancer is a severely overlooked issue for women, leading to high rates of mortality and morbidity. We wholeheartedly embrace this budget and appreciate it," said a health expert.

"The budget represents a significant stride in women's healthcare. It promotes the vaccination of girls aged 9-14 against cervical cancer for disease prevention. This will surely motivate girls to get vaccinated on time and prevent cervical cancer," the expert said.

The government also plans to raise awareness about cervical cancer vaccination through various campaigns and programmes to ensure the well-being of women and this is expected to boost cervical cancer screening and vaccination.

Reny Varghese, unit head, Zynova Shalby Hospitals, also lauded the focus on establishing more medical colleges. The decision to set up more medical colleges by utilising existing infrastructure reflects a forward-thinking approach to address the shortage in workforce in the healthcare sector. This budget is indeed beneficial for the country and can strengthen the healthcare system, Varghese said.

RECENT STORIES

Indore: Health Department Launches Drone Survey To Combat Dengue

Indore: Health Department Launches Drone Survey To Combat Dengue

Cancer Care In Maharashtra: State Gets 1st MR Fusion Prostate Biopsy Machine At Mumbai's Sir H. N....

Cancer Care In Maharashtra: State Gets 1st MR Fusion Prostate Biopsy Machine At Mumbai's Sir H. N....

FPJ Mini-Marathon: 'Green Run' For Better India Brings Smiles, Fitness & Refreshing Joy

FPJ Mini-Marathon: 'Green Run' For Better India Brings Smiles, Fitness & Refreshing Joy

Indore: Health Minister Rajendra Shukla Sees Master Plan For MYH Renovation

Indore: Health Minister Rajendra Shukla Sees Master Plan For MYH Renovation

Indore Shelter Home Tragedy: Cholera Outbreak Confirmed Among All 85 Kids At Bal Ashram; PMO & Women...

Indore Shelter Home Tragedy: Cholera Outbreak Confirmed Among All 85 Kids At Bal Ashram; PMO & Women...