National action plan unveiled to eradicate cervical cancer

The mortality, morbidity, and disability associated with cervical cancer are set to decline significantly among Guyanese women, with the introduction of a new 2024-2030 National Action Plan.

The initiative for the elimination of the cancer was unveiled on Friday, at the Pegasus Corporate Suite in Kingston, Georgetown.

Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony speaking at the launching of the National Action Plan for the Elimination of Cervical Cancer, at Pegasus Corporate Suite

The booklet, outlining strategies to achieve these ambitious goals, was done in collaboration between the Ministry of Health, the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), the Pan-American Health Organisation, and the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT).

Providing the keynote address, Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony emphasised that the comprehensive programme will address cancer from its prevention stage through to treatment.

Starting next week, women will have easy access to screening for the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), the primary cause of cervical cancer.

“Screening is absolutely important. We are going to make it as easy as possible. We will be explaining to people how the testing will be done and giving them the kits. We have developed this strategy and now what we have to do is take what is in there and start implementing it,” Minister Anthony stated.

The action plan also emphasises increasing HPV vaccination coverage. The vaccine is recommended for females between the ages of nine and 45, to prevent HPV infection and significantly reduce the risk of cervical cancer.

Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand being presented with a copy of the action plan by the Director of Non-communicable Diseases and Mental Health Programme, Latchmie Lall

Also present at the launching was Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand who highlighted the importance of early intervention through school-based vaccination and education initiatives.

“We are fully committed at the Ministry of Education to help you roll this programme out with all the medical information that you will give to us and make it available to every school child in Guyana,” the education minister asserted.

She also urged parents to dispel misinformation surrounding the vaccine and prioritise their children’s long-term health.

Some of the health professionals who were present at the ceremony

The initiative aligns with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) strategic priorities for cervical cancer elimination.

PAHO’s Specialist in Non-communicable Diseases and Family Health, Karen Roberts applauded the health ministry for developing the holistic strategy.

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