The case of girls who received the human papillomavirus vaccine in Carmen de Bolívar (Bolívar) in 2014 marked a milestone in the vaccination program initiated in 2012 in the country. That year, in the municipality, several minors said they had "faint" because of the vaccine.
According to news that unclear faecal vaccines have been revealed, the program has shifted from 95% in the first dose in 2013 to 6% in 2016, according to figures presented by Diego García, the Deputy Minister of Public Health.
Through this scenario, in 2015 Javier Luna assumed the position of secretary of municipal health in Carmen de Bolívar. spectator He spoke to him at the HPV Prevention and Control Meeting in Colombia and HPV related cancers: lessons learned and the way forward. "
When he came into possession, how did Carmen de Bolivar find out about the human papillomavirus vaccine?
One year ago, the first crises occurred. It was a very complex situation. The first thing we did was to meet parents 'associations to give them their full support and to watch the EPS, so the girls' attention needed to be reached.
How was that meeting?
First, good. One person was tasked to monitor EPS due to delays in authorization and make emergency use. And we tried to improve that bad environment that existed between emergency workers and parents. We met even the directions of the hospital and we reached an agreement, so that both sides could shrink little guard.
So the girls still had symptoms?
Yes, they continued to have more or less symptoms until 2016. And then they fell. The initial database that was taken in emergency mode fell apparently.
How is the situation now?
He is much calmer. We followed the ministry's commitments, the provision of health care facilities, a rescue plan for municipal ESE, which is the first level, a mobile unit required for rural care. Agreements with Super have also been concluded to permanently prioritize attention or complaints that have been filed against the EPS for non-compliance and non-authorization. Parents asked for them to be transported because Carmen is a difficult access zone. It has become a rather complex situation in which the Secretariat's position had to be neutral.
And what is the conviction, in terms of scientific evidence, about vaccine innocence?
Nil. So far we have not been able to advance in this regard, despite the very warm efforts we have made. Parent associations have some power when it comes to the issue of vaccines, so it is quite difficult for us to act from the secretariat. We have a "stock" of only 10 doses of vaccines this year and we have had no demand. However, starting with January, we will generate trades for schools and educational institutions and remind them that vaccines are available to every girl. And start advertising that will be the most difficult part of these four years.
But you have to invent a strategy to convince people …
Exact. We should look at the possibility of generating a little more information through local channels and other means, looking for a way for people to eliminate the stigma of the HPV vaccine. The problem is that it can not be just a strategy of the municipal health secretary. It is a problem that belongs to us. It's easier to say Bogotá, to say in the province where there is practically no access to any type of communication. I could undertake an aggressive strategy, but I will get against this anti-vaccine people's dam, they will have their reasons, and respect the position, but from the scientific point of view they have no proof. That's where we initially clashed, after a few meetings, then I was a little warm on this, but without maintaining the clear position that the vaccines had nothing to do with this problem.
It is a job I treated very discreetly because it is a fear founded by those who have directly lived with girls. We have always reiterated that girls are not sick, although there are, in fact, some basic pathologies that have been diagnosed. They all have a diagnosis and some have already left the controls. But there are some diagnoses that relate to the application of the vaccine. This was the most difficult thing and I lived in my case … My wife tells me she doubts. Even when I bring the evidence to him, he says to me: "Even so, it generates doubts." And I put myself in the mother of that family. They saw the girls were taken on motorcycles, the school crisis … countless things.
And if you have brought scientific evidence to your wife, now what is the next step to convince her?
Well, the next step is to bring her to Bogota to help convince her (laughs). I do not see it easily. But I think we should give priority to our daughter's future, to her future health. I always gave the example of a girl in a sidewalk that told me that one day talking to her mother, Mother had told her that when the girls went into crisis in the classroom she left the room and did not look where were the girls. And it worked. The girl never repeated a crisis. She says she's a healthy girl, and if she had the chance to have a third dose, she'll put her.
In the secretariat we have two permanent people available to receive complaints. I lack support for family welfare, because many of the girls are still minor. I can not solve from the territorial command a subject that is the responsibility of this institute.
How much do you feel in this crusade?
I really feel very alone, although I have the Ministry's support. I received threats at one point against my life and my daughters … but well, this is my political and social role. I have always been a public figure and in Carmen I have been working in the public sector for 18 years.
Does your Mayor believe in you?
Yes of course. The mayor has given me total confidence, the only thing I have not agreed on is this problem of the HPV vaccine and I respect my criteria and my position.
How does he feel to know he is the health secretary of a population that has marked a milestone in the country's indicators?
They feel so many things. A debt accountability and satisfaction has been fulfilled. I feel like I did what I got and I stayed in my clear position that the vaccine has nothing to do with those girls' problems that, I repeat, are sick, but I did all I'm working on EPS. I feel we have to look for more ways to make a visible problem that does not have the necessary attention at some point. I recognize the efforts of the ministry, but also that more could have been done to take care of these parents. Carmen de Bolívar is a small Columbia, all the problems come together. You have to look at it as a more national problem. Let's see in what direction God and destiny continue to follow.
Do you have one year and a month to do a human papilloma virus activity, which would be it?
Vaccination again in schools. Take a pilot school and take it with more peace and quiet, do it in coordination with the municipality, that things are done as they are and explain the benefits of the parents. This is the original plan. We hope God accompanies us.