African Guyanese women 15-39 at highest risk of Cervical Cancer
DPI, Guyana, Thursday, February 8, 2018.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), African Guyanese women between the ages of 15 and 39 are at the highest risk of developing cervical Cancer caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV).
Cognisant of this reality, the Ministry of Public Health has undertaken several important measures to increase vaccination rates for the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) in Guyana, according to Minister within the Ministry of Health, Dr. Karen Cummings.
HPV is the most commonly sexually transmitted infection in Guyana with younger women and girls particularly susceptible to cervical cancer.
The administration of the HPV vaccine to girls is part of a comprehensive plan developed by the Ministry to reduce the mortality rate among cervical cancer patients.
“Guyana was one of the first countries in the Caribbean Region to pilot the HPV vaccination program. The vaccine, [Gardasil], is being administered to girls aged 11 to 13. During this current dispensation of the HPV vaccine the Ministry of Public Health will be targeting girls aged 9 to 16 years as recommended by the Technical Advisory Group of the MOPH,” the Minister explained.
The lack of knowledge has proven to be a severe detriment to the acceptance of the current HPV campaign and efforts are being made to change this, Minister Cummings told the Department of Public Information (DPI)
“Given the inadequate general HPV and HPV vaccination knowledge, it is imperative that educational interventions be designed to improve knowledge levels. This represents a potentially important initial step toward increasing local vaccination rates among adolescent females.”
Dr. Cummings added, “Such interventions may also influence individual’s’ beliefs and attitudes about HPV vaccines, such as the acceptability of school-based HPV vaccination programs.”
According to Dr. Cummings with the necessary knowledge being made available, the HPV vaccination campaign plans to achieve at least 95% vaccination coverage of the total target population. An evaluation of the pilot vaccination programme revealed that there was a high uptake for the first dose of the HPV vaccine.
The minister implored mothers to follow through with the ministry’s efforts and allow their children to receive the vaccines to ensure a healthy future.
The vaccine does not, however, replace screening for pre-cancerous cells.
The ministry is fully committed to a healthier nation and as such urges all women to ensure they are screened for cervical and other cancers.
By: Nateshia Isaacs
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