Aug 30, 2012 Letters
The World Health Organisation writes:
Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide and accounted for 7.6M deaths (around 13% of all deaths) in 2008. The main types of cancer are: lung (1.37 million deaths); stomach (736,000); deaths), liver (695,000 deaths); colorectal (608,000 deaths); breast (458,000 deaths) and cervical cancer (275,000 deaths).
If one person meets an untimely death, we should all be concerned. However, we are forced to be comparative when more attention is paid to a gross number of 275,000 deaths than a gross number of 1.37 million, or a gross number of 736,000 or a gross number of 695,000, for example.
It should be noted that death from cervical cancer is listed as sixth in the statistics above, and it is almost fifty percent lower than breast cancer, and more than two times lower than liver cancer. The latter observation is very significant especially for Guyana. At present there are certain pesticides being used in Guyana that are known to have adverse effects on a healthy liver of humans and animals. These pesticides are known carcinogens. Fruits are dipped in ripening agents that when digested the result is a negative impact on the liver, kidneys, pancreas, and entire digestive system. Why is there no concern by the Minister of Health for the attacks on the vulnerable liver of Guyanese? We will elaborate on these issues at a later date.
If the health of the population is a priority, why is the Minister of Health not addressing lung cancer which is the deadliest of cancers?
Britain, the ex-colonial ruler of Guyana and the mentor of many Guyanese intellectuals, has banned the advertisement of cigarettes in retail places. Will Guyana follow suit? Why is open atmospheric burning of carcinogenic materials such as plastic bottles, plastic bags and foam utensils so prevalent all around the city of Georgetown? Why is prevention of liver and stomach cancers not given priority, but instead the use of DDT, a proven Carcinogen, is being encouraged?
Guyanese parents are concerned that the Minister of Health has chosen to disrespect them, showing contempt for their love for their children. Parents listened with interest to the information prepared by the Minister of Health and his experts, and presented to them by way of the Government monopoly national broadcast media.
However, when parents wrote a letter respectfully requesting that the Minister of Health meet them and their representatives on regional and the Government’s national televisions to seek clarification on many troubling issues relating to the Minister’s Gardasil vaccine programme, the minister neither replied to the letter, nor did he or his representative meet with parents and their representatives.
It seems as if the poor families of Guyana have no cause for which the Minister of Health should be mindful of. Why is the Minister of Health so anxious to deposit the cervical cancer germ into the blood stream of young girls who are only just out of nursery? If neither pupils nor parents will benefit from such a high costing programme, then who is the real beneficiary financially from the Gardasil vaccination programme?
It is argued by the Minister of Health and his experts, that it is most urgent that Gardasil vaccine be administered to our young daughters, aged nine to thirteen years old, so as to pre-empt their promiscuity which would make them most vulnerable to cervical cancer.
According to the literature on cervical cancer, it cannot be transmitted by kissing, holding hands, petting, sitting on toilet seats, or from sharing utensils. Cervical cancer is a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
Since cervical cancer is an STD, parents are both concerned and confused in respect to why such a most expensive STD prevention programme is being introduced into Guyana, when a more superior STD prevention programme is already in place and functioning.
Does Gardasil protect the recipient of the vaccine against venereal disease, syphilis, gonorrhea, herpes, or Chlamydia, the most common bacterial STD? We are able to state categorically that Gardasil does not protect against any of the mentioned STDs except four types of human papilloma virus (HPV).
However the HIV/AIDS programme does. Yes, the HIV/AIDS STD prevention programme is much more responsible, genuine, less costly, and more effective than Gardasil vaccine programme.
One may ask: What is the socio-physical effects mentioned? The HIV/AIDS programme makes the practice of “safe sex” a central behavior, if STD of HIV is to be prevented. In such programme, the use of a protective covering of the male genital (sexual organ) known by the generic name of condom, is emphasized and demanded. Guyanese are told that if there is no breakage of the condom during the act of sexual intercourse, then maximum safety is ensured. What is the message: directly or indirectly that the Minister of health is conveying the families? Is he saying that Gardasil vaccine gives the individual a choice of protection against STD? Is he saying that a female who has been given the Gardasil vaccine may have no need to use condoms? Is he saying that the Gardasil vaccine is sufficient to prevent the transmission of sexual diseases? If he should interject to say that Gardasil is not sufficient, but there is nothing that has a one hundred percent (100%) efficiency, then let him tell parents how he would rate condoms against Gardasil, in the prevention of sexual transmitted diseases (STDs).
Whereas Gardasil is alleged to provide protection for a few (four) strains of cervical cancers, condoms has more than ninety-nine percent (99%) efficiency against STD including Cervical cancers.
Furthermore, condoms protects against all cervical cancers that are transmitted sexually. You cannot get a better performance in respect to cost effectiveness of the Condom Programme that is presently in operation in Guyana.
What logic then dictates the use in Guyana of Gardasil, a pharmaceutical creation which is touted as the most expensive vaccine to be introduced to date?
We are therefore stating categorically that the Gardasil vaccine programme as presented by the Minister of Health will lead to sexual recklessness (social effect), which will result in a side effect (physical effect), that would dwarf the present STD problems.
Indirectly or subliminally, the minds of our young women are being programmed to believe that they may be promiscuous and may indulge in unprotected sexual intercourse, for they have had their “jab.” The physical “side effect” of thinking that Gardasil is an adequate STD protection, is to be infected by syphilis, gonorrhea, Chlamydia and all the other STDs germs.
Parents would like to know whether women in the present House of Parliament were given Gardasil, and did any female experts who accompanied the Minister of Health on his pro-Gardasil programs, had their Gardasil vaccine shots?
It is also important for parents to know whether the female Head Mistresses and teachers of the schools of their children have had their Gardasil vaccine shots? If no female of the respective groups mentioned above had Gardasil and if there is no incident of cervical cancer within those collectives, then the less costly and the most effective programme would be one where adult females of the above mentioned collectives, explain to young females nationally, how to live without getting cervical cancer.
Such a programme is not as farfetched as some may think. In Colonial British Guiana the population, young and old, were introduced to films such as “Bob and Sally” and “Mom and Dad.”
Such films taught to the dangers of STDs and their prevention. Youths need education!
In reality our children need to be exposed to what I coined the ‘JET’ Factor: Jobs, Education, and Training.
The Gardasil programme is a cynical indictment of our education system. It is predicting that education will be failing those entrusted to it. The Minister of Health by way of Gardasil is saying to parents: There will be no jobs and training for your child when she leaves school, therefore she may have to survive by offering sexual favours; hence the vaccine.
I cannot stress enough that Gardasil is indirectly assuring our female children that they may be as reckless as they want, because their veins have been “STD proofed.” Gardasil is also saying to parents: It is cheaper and more convenient for the Government to give young girls Gardasil, than to give them jobs, education and training.
Parents are saying to the Minister of Health that the universal use of condoms in Guyana makes Gardasil vaccine unnecessary. Parents are saying that there is a less costly STD program in place, and it is functioning. Parents are demanding not a bleak future for their children, but a future where their children would have opportunity and not hope…where the “Jet Factor” (jobs, education and training) will be standard national policy.
Let the makers of Gardasil have hope of finding some other poor unfortunate community to dump their disease deliverer. Parents of Guyana will fight for opportunities for their daughters, and will protect the wellbeing of their children so that they may enjoy the opportunities.
All Guyanese must reject Gardasil, whether or not it is being offered in vaccine or oral form.
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