We are writing to share our concerns about the HPV vaccination campaign that the Guyana Ministry of Public Health has once again re-launched, specifically targeting pre-teen schoolgirls.
First of all, please know that we are knowledgeable about the Gardasil vaccine and included among is a public health professional. All of us have a great and abiding commitment to the health, empowerment, and rights of women and children. We are not ignorant crackpots nor people who oppose government actions because we are anti-government. Our objection to this campaign and vaccine stems not from a lack of caring about persons’ health; on the contrary- it is precisely because we are greatly concerned about the wellbeing of women and children in Guyana that we are urging that a stop be put to it.
There are significant harmful side effects from the vaccine that parents of girl children need to be made aware of- data that the MoPH has not shared nor adequately educated parents about. The MoPH has built this campaign around people’s fear of cancer and without any proper public consultation or discussion about the risks of the vaccine. We believe that women and girls must be provided with all the available information so they can be empowered to make the best decision for themselves and their families- not just be browbeaten and bamboozled by the authorities or those who seem to have more knowledge than they do.
Finally, we believe that promoting regular sexual health checkups and cancer screenings such as PAP smears and VIA testing (which have no harmful side effects) is a far more efficient and effective use of the scarce resources of the MoPH and would have a greater long term impact in preventing and reducing cervical cancer among Guyanese women. We urge the MoPH to dedicate its efforts and attention to that front instead and would willingly work with them at such time.
Listed below are some specific concerns about HPV and Gardasil that we urge you to review and share, especially with parents of pre-teen and teenage girl children, so that all may become better informed and more able to make a good decision about safeguarding the health of their children. Do note that all this data is from highly reputable, scientifically accurate sources (references are included so that you may check for yourself).
- Most HPV infections go away on their own, without treatment, and do not result in cancer. In the United States, where the prevalence of HPV infection is significantly higher than in Guyana, only about 3.4% of all HPV viruses were associated with cervical cancer.
- Cervical cancer is one of the most easily detected and treated cancers. Regular screening- either by PAP smear or VIA testing- is extremely effective at detecting pre-cancerous growths which can then be destroyed before they become cancerous. Notably, VIA testing just uses vinegar; it is a simple test that doesn’t require a lot of training to do or interpret, making it particularly suitable for use in under-resourced regions of Guyana.
- According to the American Cancer Society- when caught early, the survival rate for women with cervical cancer is 93%. In addition, the World Health Organization notes that early treatment programs in developed countries prevents up to 80% of cervical cancers.
- Gardasil contains genetically engineered virus-like particles as well as aluminum, which have been proven to negatively affect immune functioning;. Furthermore- according to the vaccine manufacturer product information insert- Gardasil not been evaluated for carcinogenicity or genotoxicity. What this means therefore is that the possibility exists that this vaccine itself could cause cancer! This cannot be known yet though; many years have to pass first. As such, we recommend that a precautionary approach be followed and use of this vaccine stopped immediately, especially since there are effective and efficient screening methods that have no side effects.
- The Japanese Health Ministry stopped recommending Gardasil vaccination for their citizens since 2013 and continues to maintain this position. In addition, the US government has paid nearly US$6M in compensation to persons and families whose loved ones suffered serious side effects from this HPV vaccine.
- The cost of this vaccine in Canada is about $405Can per recipient. The Guyanese government has stated that it is aiming to distribute approximately 40,000 doses of this vaccine across Guyana. We question where the funding for this vaccination campaign has come from and ask the MoPH to provide data showing if spending money on this vaccine is more cost-effective than funding regular cervical cancer screening programs. As we said earlier, it is our contention is that it would be a better and more sensible use of our scarce public health resources to strengthen cervical cancer screening programs throughout Guyana- especially in the hinterland regions which are consistently under-resourced- instead of promoting mass vaccination.
- The HPV vaccine can have numerous harmful side effects including vomiting, dizziness, swollen glands, shortness of breath, chest pain, aching muscles, and prolonged muscle weakness. There have also been cases of women and girls suffering paralysis and death after receiving this vaccine. Please note that we have not said that these side effects are inevitable but the information needs to be shared with parents so that they can weigh the risks and benefits for themselves and not be misled into giving permission for their young children to receive this vaccine without knowing the serious side effects it could cause.
- Because of the lack of information about side effects overall, as well as the specific lack of this information in indigenous languages, if girls in the Guyanese hinterland- a special target area of this campaign- get sick from this vaccine, it is unlikely that they will receive proper emergency attention and care.
In conclusion, given the lack of public education and consultation, this campaign to administer Gardasil to pre-teen and teenage Guyanese children is a violation of the Rights of the Child Convention. We urge all Guyanese parents to join us in calling on the MoPH to:
- Stop the nationwide HPV vaccination campaign immediately;
- Launch a national public awareness exercise to inform pre-teen and teenage girls and their parents of all the vaccine risks and side effects so that they can make more informed decisions;
- Conduct ongoing national public education campaigns to highlight the importance of all sexually active Guyanese women obtaining regular PAP smears or VIA testing as the most effective way to prevent cervical cancer;
- Ensue that healthcare facilities in all regions of Guyana are always equipped with skilled staff and materials needed to conduct and interpret cervical cancer screening using PAP smears and/or VIA testing;
- Implement comprehensive sexuality education in all schools nationwide so that Guyanese youth are better informed about sexual health and the functioning of their bodies, and gain the necessary skills to communicate openly, honestly, and non-judgmentally with their peers, partners, parents, and healthcare providers about safer sex, consent, and other related topics.
If anyone would like to speak with us directly or have us come and discuss this information further with any group or organization, we can be reached thusly: 653-3734; 223-6254.
Yours very sincerely,
Sherlina Nageer, MPH
heard a minister of government say today that “we have to be ready for the development that’s going to come.” everybody clapped.
also heard today- a young friend’s story of when she was a ward of the state. one day she was sent to a foster home. this was a few years ago, in the beginning of the foster care program; they hadn’t sorted out the stipend part yet. a few mornings later, she got her period. she asked her foster mother for a sanitary pad so she could go to school; she had exams to write. after she finished her exam but before she could go back home, she received a message from her social worker. she was not to go back to the foster home, but to the state-run children’s home instead. “For years afterwards,” she said, “I thought something was wrong with me, that’s why she didn’t want me.. Is only when I got big that I realized she was the one with the problem..
i recognize, in the recent pic of guyana govt misleaders and their minions skinning their teeth at evil exxon’s huston hq pre-hurricane harvey flood- someone who i last saw working at the child care and protection agency. now she jet setting w the unbribe-able politrickians of gt.
aah yes, Guyana, clap and be grateful that the white man has come to save us from the nowhere train that we were on.. cuz we sure as heck were doing a piss poor job of taking care of ourselves, weren’t we? best we go back under all-knowing, all-powerful whitey. i mean, yuh already bleaching, right? just now we’re all going to get a check from exxon every month! think of how much more bleaching cream you cud buy wid dat.
thank you massa!
this is how gold has got guyana. now they’ve found oil. minister of finance and co orgasming about “high end sustainable development” and green economy..
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA <It will be highly unlikely for USA oil giant, ExxonMobil to manipulate its books to rob the nation of what is due to it, without being detected. In fact, Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman is confident that the Government and its relevant agencies will be able to keep this multi-billion dollar and multinational company in check.>
politrickians bai! they’re good for laffs, if NOTHING ELSE
seriously tho- as much as i like a good david v goliath story, and believe in the power of good over evil etc etc- one of the things i absolutely loathe is politrickians spouting bullshit and trying to bamboozle the populace. how is a country which has abundant land and mineral resources but which has languished as the 2nd poorest country in the Western hemisphere for decades and which is consistently in the bottom tier of worldwide rankings of corruption and transparency- how is our dear Guyana all of a suddenly now going to be able to resist the evils that Exxon is bringing? and please don’t fucking tell me anything about legislation and policies. unless you want to hear a big kyah kyah kyah from me. this is how poor black and brown citizens of the world’s superpower are treated by EVIL Exxon- https://theintercept.com/2017/08/13/exxon-mobil-is-still-pumping-toxins-into-black-community-in-texas-17-years-after-civil-rights-complaint/. and that is only one story. numerous examples abound about how Exxon (and oil companies in general) have fukked over people and countries around the globe for decades, and gotten away with it.
the fact of the matter is that Exxon is EVIL, “sustained high end development” is not going to save us or planet Earth, and any/all who tie bundle w Exxon are either idiots and/or opportunists trying to get as many crumbs into their pieholes and pockets as possible before the apocalypse. No $250USD “executive” workshops about the ‘green eCONomy’, no seminars about corporate social responsibility- none of that bullshit is going to save Guyana from the apocalypse of pollution, death, and destruction that’s guaranteed when Exxon starts drilling that black gold out of the Atlantic.
sure, one one people might get a wuk, some big bais gon get fatter pockets, i’m sure there will be more prados on the streets and pradovilles built, but you cannot fucking eat, drink, breathe, or grow anything from oil, and guess what fuckturds eCONomists who try to lecture me about “rational decision making” and limited resources when wearing fucking suits in a tropical climate- there is still ONLY ONE HABITABLE PLANET. so when you damage/destroy/contaminate the waterways, airways, and land- where are your (great) grandchildren going to relocate to, huh? what are they going to eat, drink, and breathe?
so STFU idiotic minister of natural resources! stop trying to bamboozle Guyanese people. and Guyanese- for the love of yourselves and country- try to look beyond your belly and bank account and into a few generations ahead. i know life pon di dam not easy. i know in this upside down world money still run things, but IT WASN’T ALWAYS LIKE THIS and IT DOESN’T HAVE TO ALWAYS BE LIKE THIS.
vision with me. first and foremost- stop buying into the bullshit of politrickians. they are people just like you and me- they eat, sleep, shit, and breathe just the same. they don’t have any superpowers; in fact- the power they have is power that comes from me and you! don’t be fooled by their misleadership. second- take some deep, soul cleansing breaths of fresh, unpolluted air. then try holding those breaths and see how long you can survive. when you regain consciousness, never forget this lesson, no matter how much money or shiny things they dangle before you. third- reconnect with the land. take off your shoes and dig your toes into the dirt. run your fingers through the soil like you’d run it through your beloved’s hair. plant something and see how it grows, what it needs to survive and thrive, how it and you fit in the web of life. fourth- look up at the sky and stars every day. remember that there is only one planet Earth and if you fuck it up, it’s apocalypse now for you and your loved ones. fifth- resolve to fight with all your might against EVIL Exxon and all the forces that are working to destroy life on Earth- including all the politrickians, academics, businesspeople, lawyers, etc who tie bundle with them.
No, I don’t want to come inside your AC room. I’m fine outside here without any walls around me, a tree at my back, the sky and clouds over head, nice breeze. Do you want a seedling? You selling them? No, they free. Ok then. She takes three for her yard. Security guard at gate- a big woman, working the usual 12hr shift for a pittance. Note to self- come back w salt bag; there’re lots of lovely cow pies on campus- i filled up my bucket with manure minutes after arriving. Speaking of shit- a bunch of economists hector me; economics is about making rational decisions, one says, dealing with finite resources, a necessary something. One of them is wearing a dark suit. He swelters in the tropical sun. He is one of the ones in charge. I laugh. Rational decision making my bamzee! She’s just throwing shit at the fan, another says dismissively. Well there’s definitely a lot of shit around here to shie, that’s for sure. I smile winningly. This time- unlike the last time I engaged in shit talking w a big man- we don’t end up in court ;). He stays outside and gyaffs with me for over an hour, after all the others have drifted back inside. What kind of academic training do I have? What work do I do? What’s my vision of the world? It’s always entertaining, the expressions on people’s faces at this point. Wage slavery, environmental justice, intersectionality- it’s like speaking a different language to some folks. He stares, says something about enigmas and puzzles. He left Guyana in 1976, didn’t come back til 2010. This trip tho, has been something else. Has made me reevaluate how I was doing everything. I couldn’t live here tho, he says. Yes, it’s not easy, I agree. But you can live in the States? That’s madness too. Silence. Of course there are those who ignore, like they’re used to, like the plague, those who walk past then turn back and snap a quick pic, those who aren’t sure what’s going on and don’t care enough to find out. Mr Griffith in his big tinted SUV, for one, being driven like Ms. Daisy. Of course I hear from the CI Guyana stalwarts- they aren’t co-sponsoring w Exxon, they just gave scholarships to students. They don’t seem to mind how things appear. Mr organizer is pleased that Exxon responded to him and is participating; he bemoans the “blackout” other agencies have given his workshop. The $250 fee is no big thing, several of them say. I get asked again to come inside and participate. I am participating, I say, in my way. Inside, they’re still talking about sustainable development and handing out plastic water bottles. When the coconut water man is right outside the gate, cutlass at the ready.. $250USD to interact w them about rational decision making and the green economy. UH HUH. I stay outside for two and a half hours, talking with whoever talks to me. I’m not anti-dialogue, and, maybe surprising to some- I can engage without ‘busing. I had cussed up a storm when I first saw the flyer for the event; my friends who saw that rant are surprised no doubt, that there were no expletives on my placard today. My initial burst of anger has given way to sadness at this point tho- some of these people are the same ones who were running behind Jagdeo and the LCDS. They’re supposed to be the big brain intellectuals but they continue to be misled, sadly, and tragically, continue to mislead others. Then GPHell blackout hits, like clockwork, and is confusion. They scramble to open the windows. We can see each other clearly now. What does it mean, your sign? Just reminders I say. Just some reminders. As you make your rational decisions and conversate/partner w evil Exxon.. #only1Earthhabitableplanet
WORDS ARE FAILING ME. EVIL IS RUNNING RAMPANT ON EARTH. CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL GUYANA CO-SPONSORING WITH EXXON. GREEN E-CON-OMY CON CON CON CON CON! ETHICS? $250USD? FUCK ALL YOU BASTARDS. MAY YOUR BRAINS ROT IN YOUR HEADS AND YOU ALL DIE EXCRUCIATINGLY PAINFUL DEATHS.
FUCK EXXON AND ALL THOSE WHO HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THEM!
APOCALYPSE NOW GUYANA
romeo ‘helping’ me plant annattohttps://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/seed-and-nut/annatto.html
pumpkin is amazed by the maiwiri pepper 😀 #avocado and #cherry also picturedhttps://www.stabroeknews.com/2017/the-scene/tastes-like-home/06/24/maiwiri-versus-wiri-wiri/
how many can you identify? how many do you have growing by you? this is some of what’s growing in the backyard of the one ‘family property’ remaining in Lusignan.. blessed by the ancestors even tho most of their descendants have long beat out for better pastures- i mean bright lights n big cities.. me- i happy to be mobilizing downward, into the ground.