"There is no scientific evidence that the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine causes increased sexual desire in children or adults and there is no known major side effect to hurt anyone. Our objective is to promote the health, safety and longevity of our most important human resource".
This was the professional advice of Dr. Oneka Scott of the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) during her Health Education interface with parents and girls at the Bartica Secondary School on Thursday as a prelude to a planned rollout of an HPV immunization campaign.
This interface was part of the Ministry of Education's efforts to support Government's plan to aid in the eradication of HPV which is on the upsurge in Guyana.
In addition to parents and girls being offered education via conversation and a video presentation, the forum catered for information dissemination to Ministry of Education heads of departments to take back to the eleven education districts under their management.
Dr. Scott said that the sensitization campaign came about since research done by the MOPH found that cervical cancer among girls is on the increase.
She told the gathering that HPV has over 100 strains and some of these strains cause some serious diseases such as cervical cancer, genital warts and a number of other diseases.
The doctor said that with these facts, it is imperative that actions are taken to ‘nip this in the bud’. Dr. Scott said that it is very important that girls between the ages of six to 18 be vaccinated urgently.
According to her, while the MOPH will first target girls, it is not to say that boys are forgotten in this effort. She explained that research has shown that boys are less affected than girls but plans are afoot to have boys immunized as well.
She said that the MOPH has to prioritise since the vaccine is costly and it's only reasonable that the most vulnerable group be targeted first.
An official team of Public Health officials is set to take the HPV campaign to region seven shortly; however, parents expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Education for the timely intervention.