Amerindian cancer project back on stream

Guyana Chronicle
May 25, 2003

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THE cancer project in hinterland areas is on track and progressing smoothly after some hiccups in Regions One (Barima/Waini) and Nine (Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo).

The study, which involved taking tests for Cervical Cancer via pap Smears especially among Amerindian women in the two Regions and the distribution of questionnaires, started last year after several cancer cases were reported to the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs.

Subsequently, the Ministry along with the Ministry of Health initiated
the project to ascertain the intensity of the disease in Amerindian Communities as well as probable causes.

Problems surfaced a few months ago when husbands, in particular, voiced disapproval of their wives being tested for fear that the test may negatively influence the woman's reproductive system, among other things.

Amerindian Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues said the situation might have been caused by the lack of educational and promotional activities of the project in the communities, before it got started.

A team comprising Mr. Wayne Hunte, Special Projects Officer, Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, Dr. Maxine Swain, Director of Chronic Diseases, Ministry of Health and Ms. Yvette Irving, Research Specialist for the project, were recently in Region One wrapping up the exercise.

According to the Community Development Officer (CDO) of Mabaruma, Mr. Victor Boyer, more than 200 tests were taken in Hobodeia, Hotoquai, Sacred Heart, Kamwatta and at Mabaruma Hospital in the Mabaruma Sub- District.

Dr Swain and Ms. Irving also completed a similar exercise in Kwebanna, Santa Cruz, Warapoka and Santa Rosa among other villages.

The team has wrapped up the exercise in the targeted areas of Region One and are due to continue in Region Nine, where some amount of work was already done. (GOVERNMENT INFORMATION AGENCY - GINA)

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