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Ms Woon Saet Nyoon, Chief Executive of Temasek Foundation Cares,


Mr Wee Leong How, Chairman of Singapore Cancer Society,


Distinguished Guests,


Ladies and Gentlemen,



1.             Good afternoon. I am very pleased to join all of you today to mark the official launch of the Temasek Foundation Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Immunisation Programme, in partnership with the Singapore Cancer Society (SCS).


2.             While Singapore continues to battle COVID-19 on the frontline, I am heartened that the pandemic has not detracted from ongoing efforts to combat other viruses such as HPV. Today’s event is an example to reach out to women about HPV vaccination and cervical cancer, through the Temasek Foundation HPV Immunisation Programme.    


HPV vaccination and prevention of cervical cancer


3.             Almost all instances of cervical cancer can be attributed to HPV infection – more than 95 per cent of cervical cancer cases worldwide are a result of the virus1. In Singapore, cervical cancer is the 10th most common cancer and also the 10th most common cause of cancer deaths among Singaporean women2, as attributed by Mr Wee earlier. However, it is also one of the most preventable cancers among women and can also be effectively treated, if detected early.


4.             The HPV vaccine significantly reduces a woman’s risk of developing cervical cancer. Studies have shown that getting vaccinated earlier in life also provides better protection against the disease. Completing the HPV vaccination and going for regular cervical cancer screening are key to cervical cancer prevention.


Positive Results from National Programmes

5.             The Ministry of Health (MOH) has embarked on various initiatives to improve uptake of the HPV vaccine. The national school-based HPV vaccination programme was rolled out in 2019 to vaccinate female secondary school students. Since then, more than 90% of Secondary One female students in various cohorts have received their HPV vaccinations. Female Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents who fall under the recommended age group for HPV vaccination are also eligible for subsidies under the national immunisation schedules.


6.             However there remains a lack of awareness and uptake in some population groups. Today’s launch demonstrates the importance of the government and community partnerships in advancing public health and wellness and augmenting existing national efforts.


Launch of the Temasek Foundation HPV Immunisation Programme


7.             Funded by Temasek Foundation, this new programme will be helmed and implemented by SCS and seeks to cover the out-of-pocket costs for each HPV vaccine dose for women from low-income backgrounds. This will greatly increase the accessibility of the HPV vaccine by removing cost barriers associated with the vaccination and will go a long way towards improving vaccine uptake in this group.


8.             Through such collaborations that seek to educate individuals and facilitate their access to potentially life-saving vaccinations, we can better empower women to take ownership of their own health.


Other efforts for the early detection of cervical cancer


9.             Besides vaccination, screening is also key to the early detection of cervical cancer. Early detection and treatment particularly in its pre-cancerous stages can be lifesaving.


10.          Since 2017, the Health Promotion Board’s national Screen For Life (SFL) programme has provided subsidised cervical cancer screening at Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) General Practitioners so that all eligible Singaporeans can go for their recommended health screenings and follow-up. To this end, SCS has been offering subsidised cervical cancer screening at their clinic in Bishan, and actively reaching out to young girls to educate them on HPV and cervical cancer. I encourage every eligible woman to make the most of such initiatives to protect their health.



11.          In closing, I want to thank SCS for being MOH’s key partner in promoting cancer awareness and prevention through their public education and community outreach efforts, and Temasek Foundation for its continued support for programmes that seek to build social resilience in Singapore.


12.           I would also like to express my gratitude to all agencies and partners for the invaluable support provided to make this HPV Immunisation Programme a reality despite the challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic. I am confident that this new partnership will go a long way towards boosting the uptake of HPV vaccination in Singaporean women. Together, we can #JabOutHPV!


13.          Thank you.

[1] Source: Factsheet on cervical cancer, published by the World Health Organization on 20 Jan 22.

[2] Source: Singapore Cancer Registry Annual Report 2018, published by the National Registry of Diseases Office on 31 Mar 21.

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