Online petition to combat cervical cancer is looking for 100,000 signatures

POSTED: 06/12/13 4:32 PM

St. Maarten – Non-governmental organization KeLaHa Projects, in partnership with The Healthy Caribbean Coalition, held a press conference at the Ministry of Health yesterday announcing an e-petition drive to increase awareness of cervical cancer and the human papilloma virus (HPV) which can cause it. Dubbing the launch of the petition as “e-day” by KeLaHa Projects founder Keoma Hamer, the effort is “aimed at Caribbean heads of government to increase access to affordable screening of the disease,” she said, which includes pap tests, HPV testing, and the use of Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid (VIA).

According to the organization, early detection can prevent “more than 95%” of cases of the cancer in which “approximately 31,700 women” die from each year across Latin America and the Caribbean. This is the organization’s first e-petition launch and will be only accessible through social media networks like Facebook.  Hamer urged both “civil society” and “business places to encourage their employees” to sign the petition. Because HPV is often sexually transmitted, there is a “stigma associated with it” but “speaking about it reduces fear of it,” she said. The target for St. Maarten is 100,000 signatures which will then be sent to the heads of government. The petition can be found on KeLaHa Project’s Facebook page and The Healthy Caribbean Coalition’s website. Both men and women are encouraged to sign it. Ministry of Health officials including Minister De Weever, though invited, were not present during the briefing.

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