Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Gardasil controversy

About 5-7 years ago, visiting medical teams found the rate of Cervical Cancer was fairly high among Amerindian women. Here's what the World Health organisation had to say :

'Cancer of the cervix is the second most common cancer in women worldwide, with about 500 000 new cases and 250 000 deaths each year. Almost 80% of cases occur in low-income countries, where cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women. Virtually all cervical cancer cases (99%) are linked to genital infection with human papillomavirus (HPV), which is the most common viral infection of the reproductive tract.'

The Gardasil vaccine isn't a cheap one but Guyana by virtue of its backwardness managed to get a few thousand to inoculate its 11-13 yr old girls and if there's any left over the boys as well.
So far, so good right?
Well, it turns out that a few people are convinced that it's all a big hype to spend Government money (nope-- PAHO gave) and push unnecessary medicine into unsuspecting people. Sigh - the problem with sexually transmitted diseases is that you can't 'tell' who has what no matter how careful you are and isn't it better to lessen your risk of a potentially dangerous virus and less costly from a public Health point of view?
I believe in hearing everyone's viewpoint, here's what the Naysayers feel:

'We oppose the mass vaccination campaign of schoolgirls in Guyana with Gardasil on public health as well as child rights grounds. There is little compelling evidence that the incidence of cervical cancer locally justifies this invasive and very costly intervention, as well as serious concerns about the lack of public education and consultation prior to making the decision to undertake this campaign. Other serious issues such as the lack of informed consent of parents, misuse of already-scarce resources, and public unawareness of side effects make this mass vaccination of schoolgirls even more troubling. We believe that this vaccine is scientifically unnecessary, an unwise use of public health resources, and potentially does more harm than good. We call on you, Minister Ramsaran and Dr. Woolford, to re-evaluate and halt this campaign immediately.'
* Update- May 20 2012: In today's SN a leading oncologist working in Guyana said he saw 117 new cases of Cancer in 2011, of which 41 involved Cervical Cancer and 29 Breast Cancer.

And this:

India Suspends Gardasil! (2010)
Unlike in the United States, The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has told two Indian states, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat, to halt its Gardasil vaccine study, which was slated to test the vaccine in about 32,000 girls between the ages of 10 and 14.
DNA India reports:
“The program is part of a two-year study to look into the utility of a vaccine in public health programs and acceptability of Gardasil.
The program was marred by controversy after four deaths and complications among 120 girls were reported after vaccination. The girls complained of stomach disorders, epilepsy, headaches and early menarche.”

1 comment:

  1. oh my gosh just when i need somewhere to state my view.....this drug has alot of disadvantage when u line it up with the advantage...ppl should google it.. i found so mch site that gived u detail information about this drug and it was not good...Guyanese need to be more observative and knowledgeable about something new that is been introduce anywhere, where ever!!