The Guyana government has announced plans to embark upon a program to vaccinate approximately 36,000 girls between the ages of 9-16 years with the HPV vaccine.
The Ministry of Health said it is collaborating with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and World Health Organization (WHO) in launching the program.
40,000 doses of the vaccine
At a news conference earlier this week, representatives from PAHO/WHO and the Public Health Ministry said the team is aiming to distribute approximately 40,000 doses of the vaccine among young girls throughout Guyana. The campaign is due to start on October 16.
According to PAHO/WHO Representative, Dr. William Adu-Krow, the main purpose of the HPV vaccine is to prevent cervical cancer. He added the vaccine also protects against genital warts in both females and males.
Best chance to prevent cervical cancer
He said that while not new, the HPV vaccine has been administered in several countries and described it as the best chance of preventing cervical cancer.
“In Guyana, during the period 2003 – 2012, Guyana recorded 6,518 new cases of cancers for an overall cumulative incidence rate of 867.7 per 100,000 populations. Of the 3,956 sixty percent were females and 2,561 thirty nine percent were males, giving a female to male ratio of 1.54:1,” he said.
The PAHO/WHO representative revealed that Indo-Guyanese were found to have the largest proportion of cases at 47 per cent, followed by Afro-Guyanese at 30 per cent and 11 per cent among mixed races.