Media professionals, united under the banner of the Sustainable Media Advocacy Foundation (SMAF), have recently made a collective decision to enhance their efforts in countering the misinformation surrounding Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination for young girls aged nine to 14 in Nasarawa state. During an advocacy meeting held in Lafia, Mr. Kalu Idika, the chairman of SMAF, highlighted the foundation’s commitment to fostering media engagement for sustainable development.
Mr. Kalu Idika stated, “We are ready to collaborate with any group to raise awareness among the grassroots population. As registered professionals, we are eager to partner with organizations with a vested interest in educating and reaching out to every corner of the state, regardless of the field.”
He also emphasized that SMAF has previously received training and engaged in awareness campaigns on topics such as safe sex among adolescents and maternal mortality, in collaboration with both local and international Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). Currently, the foundation is working with the National Primary Health Development Agency (NAPHDA) to ensure that girls aged six to 14 receive the HPV vaccination, which was launched by Governor Abdullahi Sule.
Mr. Kalu highlighted that SMAF has a history of conducting various activities, and it has received technical support from international organizations and the Nasarawa State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NAPHDA).
Mr. Ishaya Amegwa, representing the state’s Health Educator, praised SMAF for dispelling myths and misconceptions surrounding the vaccine. He credited the media’s engagement for encouraging more girls within the specified age group to get vaccinated, noting that parents are now bringing their daughters for the HPV vaccine, thanks to the media’s awareness efforts.
Additionally, Oluwafemi Timothy Rotimi, the Research Monitoring and Evaluation Technical Support Lead of the Challenge Initiative (TACO), commended SMAF for their collaboration and the positive impact of their programs in the state. He recognized that the foundation has effectively reached various communities and the public through its media platforms, ultimately benefiting the well-being of the people in Nasarawa.