PM Douglas urges women to prevent cervical cancer by using tests at clinics

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, JUNE 27TH 2011 (CUOPM) – Citing a significant increase in cervical cancer St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas urged over hundreds of women on Sunday to make use of the free testing that is available at all health centers.

St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas addressing participants mostly women at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort on Sunday. Left to right – partly hidden Dr. Kathleen Allen-Ferdinand; Minister of Health, Hon. Marcella Liburd; CEO of Baptist Health South Florida and Honorary Consul, St. Kitts and Nevis, Mr. Brian Keeley and Dr. Troy Gatcliffe, Gynecologic Oncologist Baptist Health South Florida.

“This Government is doing its part. But the public must do its part as well. We have equipped all health centers to detect abnormalities of the cervix. The public must now step forward and take advantage of these crucial, life-saving services since abnormalities of the cervix, caught early, can be halted before they become cancer. And I must stress that women are not the only victims of the human papilloma virus, so men, too, need to go to the internet and see the trauma that irresponsible behavior can bring. I also hasten to add here that cervical cancer is not always caused by sexual indiscretion. But sexual indiscretion certainly increases the chances of human papilloma infection and/or cervical cancer,” said Dr. Douglas as he addressed a Women’s Forum on “Prevention and Treatment of Cervical Cancer” organised by his Office in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Baptist Health South Florida.

He said one case of cervical cancer was reported in 2005 and 17 in 2010.

“The fact that we have had a 1600% increase in cervical cancer in a five year period, tells me that it is time for a drastic switch in approach,” Prime Minister Douglas, who had words of advice for his fellow physicians.

“You must ensure that persons of reproductive age, male or female, who walk into doctors’ offices be shown body-part photographs of a healthy normal person, on the one hand, and then body-part photographs of persons in the final stages of cervical cancer and human papilloma infection on the other. One will be able to see the stark difference of one who is healthy and one who has been diagnosed and showing the effects of this cancer and the virus upon the human body,” he said.

Pointing to the importance of the joint outreach by the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and Baptist Health South Florida, Dr. Douglas said that it is not only with cervical cancer that the Government intends to grapple, but also with the human papilloma virus – the most common sexually transmitted infection, and its link to cervical cancer, cancer of the vagina, cancer of the penis, cancer of the head, tongue, etc.

“Let us ask ourselves, what role does the media play in the purveying of gang culture, violence, rap music, etc that encourage our people to become involve in violent acts here in our country and if we are serious as I have said, we must ask ourselves some fundamental questions. And if we look at the media and its role, we cannot look only at the foreign media, we also of course have to look at our regional media and our local composers and song writers, some of whose entire songs do nothing but demand in the most graphic and insistent terms, most lewd and unrestrained sexual antics from our Caribbean girls and Caribbean women. And we must ask ourselves, is this ok for us in this country, society and if it has any influence at all on promiscuity and the spread of sexually transmitted infections,” said Dr. Douglas, adding:

A section of the large turnout to the Women’s Forum.

“This is the time to ask ourselves what impact various social pathologies, parading as “culture”, are having on our people’s psyches, our people’s health, our people’s standing.”

He said it was not enough for the Government and medical practitioners to be focusing on testing for cervical cancer and vaccines to halt the spread of the human papilloma virus – even though this we shall most certainly do, but the rest of society must also actively demonstrate its concern and vision by identifying, exposing, and ‘calling out’ those social and so-called cultural practices that may, indeed, be contributing to some of the very serious medical challenges that we now face.

St. Kitts and Nevis, he stressed is in the modern age, whereby the click on a button on the internet and Google those same photographs and understand and see dramatically the actual effects that the virus would have, that is the human Papilloma virus and the effects of cervical cancer and how it destroys the human body.

“When this Government took the decision to give to all of our high school students their own personal laptops, it was to ensure that in every single home, there was a computer that will allow adults, students and children alike to be better able to understand some social issues that are confronting us today and for which you can obtain adequate information as part of Government’s continued attempt to prevent these dreaded diseases from having effect on the human body, the effect on the financial resources of our families and on our nation and the effect overall on the destruction of the most productive resource of this country – our human beings,” said Prime Minister Douglas to the Women’s Forum at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort.

He said the Government in general, and Minister of Health, Hon. Marcella Liburd have been insistent in urging self-control and greater self-restraint in all areas of human life.

“And why both the Government and the Minister have been so very insistent in urging greater self-control, greater self-restraint, and greater self-respect in all areas of sexual behavior.,” said Dr. Douglas, who added that the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Baptist Health South Florida have forged an important partnership in the fight against cervical cancer and the human papilloma virus in order to ensure that the is greater survival of the human population in St Kitts and Nevis.

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