The case of girls who received the human papillomavirus vaccine in Carmen de Bolívar in 2014 was a milestone in the vaccine program initiated in 2012. That year, the municipality said several minors had fainting because of the vaccine.
After the news was linked to no vaccination with fainting, the program moved from a coverage of 95 percent in the first dose in 2013 to 6 percent in 2016, according to data presented by Diego Garcia,
With this scenario, in 2015 Javier Luna laid the position of the Secretary of Municipal Health Carmen de Bolívar. The Spectator He spoke to him during the meeting on the prevention and control of HPV in Colombia and HPV-related cancers: lessons and the way forward. "
When he took over, how did he find the situation of Carmen de Bolívar in relation to the vaccine against human papilloma?
A year ago, the first crises occurred. It was a very complex situation. The first thing we did was meet with parent associations to offer them full support and follow up on EPS so that the attention required by the girls could be achieved.
How was that meeting?
In the first, good. Adam was assigned to track earnings per share due to delays in approvals and effective use of the emergency situation. We tried to improve the bad environment that exists between emergency workers and parents. We even met with the hospital's instructions and reached an agreement, so both sides could take a little off guard.
So girls still had symptoms?
Yes, they continued to have more or less symptoms by 2016. Then they went down. The initial database that was taken urgently was allegedly dropped.
How is the situation today?
He is much calmer. We have tracked down on commitments made by the ministry, providing several health messages, a rescue plan for the municipal ESE that is at the first level, a mobile unit required for rural care. Agreements were also reached with a writer, giving priority to the attention or complaints placed against EPS for non-compliance and non-certification. The parents demanded to give them transportation, because Carmen is an area of hard access. It has become a rather complex situation in which the position of the Secretariat should be neutral.
And how is the conviction, from the scientific point of view, of the innocence of the vaccine?
Until this moment, we have not been able to move forward, despite some lukewarm efforts. The parent associations have a certain strength when it comes to vaccinations, so it's pretty hard for us to act from the secretaries. We have a "stock" of only 10 doses of vaccines this year and we did not have any kind of demand. However, starting in January, we will create the professions for schools and educational institutions, and remind them that vaccinations are available to each of the girls. And starting with advertising is going to be the hardest part of four years.
But you will have to invent a strategy to convince people …
Exactly we need to look at the possibility of creating some more information through local channels and other means, looking for a way for people to remove the stigma of HPV vaccine. The problem is that it is not just a strategy of the municipal health secretary. This is a problem that belongs to us. It is easier to say Bogota, to say that in a province where there is almost no access to any type of communication, I can take an aggressive strategy, but I will get against all this volley of people against vaccination because they will be their reasons, and I respect their position, They have no proof. This is where we collided at first, after a few meetings, and then I stayed a bit warm in this sense, but without keeping a clear position that vaccinations definitely have nothing to do with this issue.
It's a job I secretly handle, because it's a fear founded by someone who lives directly with the girls. I have always repeated that girls are not sick, although in fact there are some basic pathologies diagnosed. Everyone has a diagnosis and some have already left the controls. But there are some diagnoses related to the vaccine. It was the hardest thing and I lived it in my case … My wife tells me she has doubts. Even when I bring him the evidence, he tells me, "However, this creates doubt." And I put myself in the shoes of the family mother. They saw that the girls were taken on motorcycles, the crisis in the schools … countless things.
And if you bring scientific evidence to your wife, now what is the next step to convince her?
Well, the next step is to bring her Bogotá to help me convince her (laughs). I do not see it easily. But I'd think she should give priority to our girl's future, her future health. I always assumed an example of a girl from the way she told me that one day, when she spoke to her mother, her mother told her that when the girls entered the crisis in class, she left the room and there were no girls. And it worked. The girl never repeated a crisis. And she says she's a healthy girl, and if she had a chance to get a third, she would wear it.
At the Secretariat we have two people permanently available to receive complaints. We lack the support of family welfare, because many of the girls are still minors. I can not resolve the territorial order subject of this institution.
How many companions do you feel in this crusade?
I really feel very lonely, even though I have the support of the firm. I even got threats at some point against my life and that of my daughters … but well, that's my political and social role. I have always been a public figure and I have been working in the public sector for 18 years.
Does your mayor believe in you?
Yes of course. The mayor gave me absolute confidence, the only thing we did not agree on was the issue of the HPV vaccine, and I respect his criteria and his position.
How does it feel to know that he mentions the health of a population that has marked a milestone in the country's indicators?
They feel so many things. Responsibility and satisfaction fulfilled the duty. I feel that I did what was within my grasp and that I remained in my clear position that the vaccine had nothing to do with the same influences of the girls, I repeat, sick, but we did all I work out of the EPS. I feel we need to look for additional ways to make the problem visible because there was no attention required at some point. I recognize the efforts of the firm, but also that it was possible to do more to care for these parents. Carmen de Bolívar is a small Columbia, all problems come together. You should look at it as a more national problem. Let's see what God, of course, continues to follow.
You have one year and one month to do human papilloma virus, what will it be?
Vaccinations are again in schools. Take a pilot school and take it with more tranquility and rest, do it in coordination with the municipality, because things are done as they are and explain the benefits to parents. This is the initial plan. We hope that God will accompany us.