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– calls concerns about the programme “insignificant” Guyana’s Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccination programme to guard against cervical cancer has not only been successful but it has been gaining grounds since being introduced in early 2012.  At least this is according to Minister ofMinister of Health,Dr Bheri RamsaranHealth, Dr. Bheri Ramsaran.The Minister, during an interview with this publication noted that while there were some “insignificant” remarks forthcoming when the programme was launched, these have been of no consequence. He has therefore concluded that “this again was probably some of you elements in the opposition especially, leading the way to oppose; everything the Administration does is opposed.”He however, noted that keen sensitization was the tactic that Government through the Health Ministry was able to utilize to get the nation to accept the importance of the HPV vaccination programme.“Long before HPV was introduced we had almost a year, and I was a part of that, teaching, talking (and) training in the schools. I recall the school that we first introduced it, in the south of the city, we did a lot of work with the school, we did a lot of work with the Headmistress, the teachers and the students themselves…they bought into it, there was absolutely no opposition,” asserted the Minister.The Minister has therefore dubbed a protesting group that opposed the introduction of the vaccine as “two or three misguided elements. I don’t want to tell you which thread or something they are associated with, but they came picketing outside (the Ministry’s Brickdam Headquarters).”The Minister said that the picketing activity, which died a natural death, was at first mistaken by his staff as “vagrants or lunatics standing outside. They were so few…I am not being facetious, I am talking straight up,” said the Minister as he insisted that “we were able to win over the Guyanese population.”While there are yet muted criticisms of the programme, its introduction saw a number of protesting women calling for better awareness of the vaccine which they claimed had several side-effects.In fact, the group in a petition to the Health Minister, in January 2012, called for the vaccination programme “to be terminated with immediate effect” until the questions associated with the vaccine are answered.According to the group, their concerns were rooted in the fact that the Ministry hadn’t adequately furnished families with information about the effects of the vaccine that have the potential of emerging years later.“We hereby request further and detailed information about the Ministry’s decision to inoculate these children against the HPV in a vaccination programme, purportedly to protect them from cervical cancer and other related diseases they are likely to contract in their adulthood,” the petition outlined.Despite the concerns raised, the Government insisted that the HPV vaccine will continue to be administered to girls from age 11 “along with intensive sensitisation programmes” in order to alleviate the occurrence of cervical cancer.As he theorised on the possible cause of the protest action against the Ministry’s move to introduce the HPV vaccine, the Minister said that “in America…there is a whole set of half-baked information from different sources misleading the population…”He mentioned that when effects such as Autism being the result of the vaccine were disproved no attempts were made to project that. In fact the Minister said that based on information he has received, efforts were even being made to investigate a doctor who started “the nonsense” about the vaccine.“But different societies organise themselves differently…We do not have any recorded cases of vaccine complications,China Jerseys Wholesale, if the media has any they can tell us about it. We have very good results, very good responses…” asserted the Minister.The outcome of the vaccine’s introduction, he noted, is in great part due to the fact that the science of vaccines has been refined.  He pointed out that this is complemented by the role played by watchdog agencies such as the Pan America Health Organisation and the World Health Organisation that have special departments to deal with the safety of vaccines.Although Guyana was previously entitled to concessionary support to procure these needed vaccines, the Minister explained that because Guyana has graduated from being a poor to middle income country it is no longer eligible for such. Nevertheless, he noted that Guyana is still able to meet its own vaccination needs through the national budget. He said that while last year Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh, ensured that health care was well catered for, a draft budget already completed reveals that there is likely to be even more for health care.The available funds for the HPV programme saw the procurement of Gardasil, a vaccine aimed at reducing the likelihood of young girls contracting HPV. Dr Singh in his presentation of the 2012 Budget had described the move as “boosting the armoury of vaccines to provide national coverage against the HPV.”

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