Mass HPV testing programme to be introduced soon – Dr Ramsammy

Targets women 30 years and above

Chronic diseases have accounted for 74 per cent of deaths in Guyana and the Ministry of Health is working to lessen this percentage and ensure the population remains healthy.

Chronic diseases are defined broadly as conditions that last one year or more and require ongoing medical attention or limited daily activities or both. Chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are the leading causes of death and disability worldwide.

Advisor to the Minister of Health, Dr Leslie Ramsammy during a recent online programme, ‘The Guyana Dialogue,’ disclosed that a Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) testing programme for women ages 30 and above will be rolled out shortly.

He said the programme will be used as one of the frontline interventions to identify people at risk and immediate medical attention will be provided.

“More than 85 per cent of all cervical cancer are due to HPV 16 and 18 in Guyana and therefore, if we could identify people who are HPV positive, we identify people at risk for cervical cancer and maybe other cancers too,” he stated.

This measure would be complemented by frequent monitoring and the introduction of pap smears and cryotherapy among other medical interventions for persons with cervical cancer.

Additionally, the ministry is currently implementing HbA1c measurements in all primary healthcare centres to detect diabetes at an early stage.

“We do foot screening across the country. This year we expect to screen a child for vision and hearing. Just broadly introducing screening earlier and wider, so it reaches people wherever they live,” the health advisor relayed.
Meanwhile, a massive breast cancer screening programme will also be launched.“We already have a cervical screening programme that is reaching people nationally…We are educating men about prostate. It is a lot of work that is going on,” he further disclosed.

Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony also spoke about launching a wellness initiative that is geared towards promoting a healthier lifestyle among the Guyanese population.