Ministry of Health’s Response to Farley’s HPV Comments

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I wish to respond to comments by Mr. Matthew Farley as reported in page 9A of the Sunday Sun of January 5, 2014. Mr. Farley must not forget to be responsible and he should recognise his tremendous influence on members of this society.

Just as he has been making submissions for the improvement of education, which is his area of expertise, the Ministry of Health has offered an alternative to the public to reduce the high incidence of cervical cancer. Like all Barbadians, Mr. Farley has the right to disagree with the offer.

However, he does not have the right to disrespect the professionalism and integrity of the staff of the Ministry of Health who have over the years worked to raise the life expectancy of males to 75 years and females to 78 years. These statistics are comparable to those of developed countries.

Over the years, the Ministry of Health has introduced several vaccines that have served this country to reduce morbidity and mortality.

These improvements in health have seen eradication of Small Pox and the control of Measles, Mumps and Rubella to insignificant levels. In addition, Tuberculosis, in the Barbadian population is at very low levels. Vaccines, introduced by these same health professionals have made our children safe and free from death and crippling diseases. The HPV or Human Papilloma Virus is one more on the list of preventable disease which the health care system seeks to control.

Consequently, to write that ??????since my three daughters will not be among the guinea pigs?????? is insulting to the professionals in the Ministry of Health and the tremendous research and effort expended to make a safe offer to counter a disease that threatens our women.

Our women deserve every chance to live long and healthy lives. They deserve to have the choice not to worry about being a statistic among the 30 ??? 40 females who contract preventable cancer of the cervix annually and the hundreds who contract genital warts.

Mr. Farley owes nothing less than an unqualified apology to the health care team.

Mr. Tennyson Springer
Permanent Secretary

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