10 Mar 2008

Hopes cervical cancer vaccine will be well received in Marshalls

6:04 am on 10 March 2008

It's hoped awareness campaigns will overcome any opposition in the Marshall Islands to a cervical cancer vaccine being introduced in May.

The U.S. Centre for Disease Control is funding the programme, which is estimated to cost four and a half million US dollars and is aimed at an estimated 15,000 women between the ages of 12 and 26.

The introduction of the vaccine has caused opposition in the United States, with some conservative groups and religous organisations saying the vaccine will encourage promiscuity

The President of the Women United Togther Marshall islands, Carmen Bigler, says there could be some hesistancy because custom sometimes prevents sexual issues being discussed.

But she dosen't think it will be an insurmountable problem:

"I think maybe we might encounter some resistance, but most people are aware of what they need to do. So I think maybe there will be some resistance, but if they understand I don't think there will be a lot of resistance."

Carmen Bigler says her group will conduct programmes to explain the severity of the problem, as the Marshall Isalnds has rates of cervical cancer up to 7 times higher than those of the United States.