Harare’s Herald lauds Zimbabwe’s HPV vaccination programme

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This week in Mutare, Zimbabwe, First Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa launched the National Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination programme. The vaccine is to be given to over 800,000 girls between the ages of 10 to 14 in an attempt to alleviate the country’s growing cervical cancer rate. However in light of the fact that there is no proof that HPV vaccines have ever prevented a single case of the disease any decrease in the rate of the cancer from this provision alone will not take place.

The Herald refers to the benefit that this decision will bring to young girls and provides further details:

 Beneficiaries will be vaccinated against cervical cancer between now and May next year

From my vast research on the subject of Gardasil and other HPV vaccines the only beneficiaries are likely to be the vaccine industry. To date there have been over 85,000 recorded adverse events following the administration of Gardasil. This is far from the correct number of events for many of the injured and their doctors are uninformed of the existence of vaccine adverse event databases such as Vaers or VigiBase .

These life-altering events include sudden collapse with unconsciousness within 24 hours seizures; muscle pain and weakness; disabling fatigue; Guillain-Barr Syndrome (GBS); facial paralysis; brain inflammation; rheumatoid arthritis; lupus; blood clots; optic neuritis; multiple sclerosis; strokes; heart and other problems, including death.

Zimbabwe does not need this vaccine. There is an estimated 2, 270 women diagnosed with cervical cancer in Zimbabwe annually with a mortality rate of 64 percent so yes something needs to be done to address the level of cancer and the lack of appropriate treatment facilities. But there are other and much safer ways to fix the problem.

However when there are organisations such as the GAVI Alliance, a multibillion-dollar public–private partnership that funds and delivers vaccines to developing countries, and which in 2013 introduced HPV vaccines in eight African countries with it’s aim to vaccinate 30 million girls in 40 nations by 2020 then any other way of looking at the problem is ignored.

The GAVI Alliance, based on partnership between the public and private sectors, was launched in 1999 to combat falling immunisation levels by providing vaccines to 74 of the world’s poorest countries. Dubbed the “billion dollar fund” after a contribution of $750m (£517m; 839m) from Microsoft’s founder and chief executive, Bill Gates, it seeks to achieve this by incorporating new vaccines into national health systems while promoting the existing immunisation program

Criticism of GAVI is not hard to find with Princeton University academic Donald Light reporting in The Guardian that

“I think the taxpayers of affluent countries and their leaders should support saving poor children and reducing global poverty but this is a moment when they could critically review how that money is being spent.” …”The Gavi model depends on giving more and more money year after year to get vaccines to poor countries in ways that are not self-sustaining and at prices that are unaffordable.”

 

Before the advent of HPV vaccines it was found that social circumstances such as poverty and inequality were strongly implicated in the development of cervical cancer. It is well documented that tobacco smoking, having multiple children and the long-term use of hormonal contraceptives are associated with an increased risk of cervical cancer. When a woman stops taking hormonal contraceptives, the risk gradually declines.

Other factors that contribute to the cancer rate are the late presentation of disease, poor screening, and inadequate diagnosis and treatment facilities.

Knowing the risk factors and addressing them will help reduce the burden and mortality of cervical cancer along with the provision of Pap smear screening facilities and access to treatment for cervical lesions and cervical cancer.

Although there is government and public support for cervical cancer screening throughout the world, many countries lack well-funded, organised programs such as exist in the UK, Australia and other developed nations. From the 1960s to 1991, cervical cancer screening was available to women in Australia on an opportunistic basis in that the test was done on the request of the doctor or the woman herself. Then, in 1991, an organised program was set up which in 1995 became the National Cervical Screening Program. Such organised programs are more effective than those of an opportunistic nature because they specify a defined target population and include policies on method and interval of screening. Europe has few such organised programs with many countries relying on opportunistic screening. Screening in the USA and Canada varies from opportunistic to organised screening, and among the Latin American countries, Chile and Colombia boast national organised programs that have been operating for at least 15 years. Of all the countries in Africa, only South Africa has an official national cervical screening policy. Developing nations such as India have no organised screening program, with testing only available to a small population of mainly urban women. Since the Australian National Cervical Screening Program began in 1991, the number of deaths from the disease have halved.

The rollout makes Zimbabwe the eighth African country to introduce the HPV vaccine into its routine immunisation programme. The others are Botswana, Kenya, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa and Uganda. This is tragic!

See: Gardasil: Fast-Tracked and Flawed

 

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Filed under books, gardasil, health, journalism, media representation, news, politics, vaccination, vaccines, womens rights

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