The Slovenia Times

Slovenia among front-runners in elimination of cervical cancer

Health & Medicine

Slovenia could be one of the first European countries to eliminate cervical cancer, according to the Ljubljana Oncology Institute, the country's main cancer treatment centre. It has already achieved the target cancer screening rate and pre-cancer treatment rate, only a high enough HPV vaccination rate remains elusive.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has identified three key pillars on the path to cervical cancer elimination. Slovenia already meets two of them with more than 70% of women included in the national cervical cancer screening programme, and more than 90% of pre-cancers being treated.

However, the HPV vaccination rate remains fairly low. Figures by the National Institute for Public Health show that 54.7% of girls and 31% of boys born in 2010 received the first dose of a HPV vaccine by 14 November, and 41.8% of girls and 21.7% of boys having already received the required booster.

These figures are still far from the WHO goal of 90% of girls getting vaccinated before the age of 15.

Vaccination is free for children in 6th grade of primary school, but the Covid pandemic slowed down vaccination in the last school year, says public health specialist Nadja Šinkovec Zorko. She expects the children to receive their shots during this school year.

The trend might be improved by a new European partnership which was launched in November in a bid to increase HPV vaccination rates. Slovenia will be responsible for coordination among the 17 participating countries.


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