HPV vaccination project re-launched

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Health Care workers at the relaunching of the HPV vaccination project

THE Ministry of Public Health, in collaboration with Merck Sharp and Dhome (MSD), on Friday re-launched the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination project, to guard against cervical cancer in Guyana.“Cervical cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers out there. It is the number one cause of death in Guyana,” said Dr. Vikash Chatrani, a medical doctor from Barbados.

The re-launching of the HPV project has seen a host of local nurses, midwives, doctors and practitioners from both the public and private health sectors in Guyana being encouraged to educate persons about HPV.

Dr. Morris Edwards explained that, based on research dated 2003 to 2012, it has been found that cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women in Guyana. He revealed that Afro-Guyanese women have the highest incidence of cervical cancer, followed by Indo-Guyanese women. Citing a distinction between the highest incidence and the highest rates of cervical cancer, Dr. Edwards said that based on his research, the Chinese in Guyana has the highest rates of cervical cancer, followed by Afro-Guyanese. He said that Amerindians have the lowest rates of cervical cancer here.

“The age group most affected by cervical cancer ranges from age 15 to age 39,” he noted.

This doctor’s research has shown that for the period 2003 to 2012, there have been more than 6,500 cancer diagnoses; and he says that evidence has shown that females are one and one-half times more affected than men.

Region Four has the highest number and incidence of cancer in Guyana; and there is significant underreporting of cancer cases and mortality in Guyana.

The Ministry of Public Health hopes that with the re-launching of the vaccination project, all women in Guyana would be encouraged to get involved in the prevention of HPV infection. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Shamdeo Persaud has said the Ministry hopes to start an immunization process in boys as well, as is done in other countries. However, this is still in the planning process, awaiting budgetary releases.