The Ministry of Public Health’s Maternal Child Health Unit, yesterday hosted a concert at the National Cultural Centre for Primary and Secondary students from Regions four, six and ten, as it prepares to roll out
another vaccination campaign in schools to help prevent the development of cancer in girls between the ages of nine and 13.
It was held with the intent of further sensitizing on the killer, Human papillomavirus (HPV) which leads to several types of cancer, inclusive of the cervix.
Sharing remarks on behalf of the Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence, was her advisor, John Adams. Adolescent Health Coordinator of the ministry, Dr. Oneka Scott, represented the Chief Medical Officer at the forum.
The event saw several schools attending – close to 3000 pupils – and those present were enlightened on the topic through the many talent pieces they were treated to in the form of songs, dance, dramatic pieces and educational comedy by the popular ‘Chiney Man’.
Teachers admitted that the concert was indeed educational for them, while the children expressed gratitude to the Ministry for organizing an event that they are able to learn from and have fun at the same time.
It is a fact that Guyanese women are currently being affected by cervical cancer more than any other form of cancer.
The vaccination campaign that is to be launched will target girls between the ages of nine to 13,
and is being highly encouraged by officials due to the severity of the matter. It was related in several dramatic pieces that the HPV is one which develops in young girls that are sexually active, and only shows symptoms at least ten years after. Symptoms of this virus include genital warts and discomfort due to itch and pain in the private parts of both men and women, since the virus affects both genders.
Although the virus is likely to be developed in both genders, officials from the Ministry of Public Health have told this newspaper that the girls are being vaccinated, but the Ministry seeks to establish the campaign for boys as well.
Sources have disclosed that Guyana is ‘lagging’ behind other countries, with regard to the vaccination campaign, since the US targets teens and young adults as old as 26, while other countries administer the injection to folks just under 36. This was said to be an action that Guyana cannot presently undertake due to its current financial state, but ‘may extend the target’ in the coming years.
Prior to this campaign, the Public Health Ministry launched such a movement on September 5, last, where Pan American Health Organization/ World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) representative, Dr. William Adu- Krow revealed that cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among Guyanese women.
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