Committees report progress in Regions with HIV/AIDS campaign
Guyana Chronicle
December 7, 2001

THE National AIDS Committee (NAC) and Regional AIDS Committees (NACs) have reported progress in their collaborative countrywide awareness campaign.

Indications are that more people are willing to get on board as Guyana intensifies its unrelenting battle against the HIV/AIDS scourge, the quarterly meeting of NAC/RAC was told at the Methodist Outreach Centre, in High Street, Georgetown, on Monday.

Officials said their biggest breakthrough for this year was in getting authorities in the Regions to budget for AIDS related expenditure and, with this assurance, it is anticipated that, next year, some of the hurdles encountered this year will be effectively overcome, allowing the programme to gain greater impetus.

Reporting on behalf of the Regional AIDS Committee in Region Five (Mahaica/Berbice), Ms Janice Bowen said:” We also have the support of the Regional Chairman, the Regional Executive Officer, the Regional Vice-Chairman.”

Region Six (East Berbice/Corentyne) has been similarly fortunate in securing the cooperation of the Regional Administration, to include expenses for its drive against HIV/AIDS in 2002 and Bowen stressed the importance of educating health personnel.

Strategies being adopted include workshop sessions and talks to new target groups, including hospitals.

In Region Seven (Cuyuni/Mazaruni), the Regional Administration has promised a plot of land for the construction of an office in which to conduct the relevant work.

Bowen also said the condoms distribution process has met with success and three new places have been identified in her Region from where interested persons can get them free of cost.

Two of the locations are Mahaichony Mid-Way Snackette and Fort Wellington Hospital.

Representatives from Region Six, too, said they have moved a step further, in terms of sensitising and educating the military and para-military.

RAC official Shannon Crawford said that makes good sense, particularly as men are predominant in those ranks.

With the help of ‘Comforting Hearts’ and other such non-governmental organisations NGOs), they will conduct education programmes and distribute condoms to those uniformed personnel.

Rallies were held throughout the Regions to commemorate World AIDS Day when red ribbons were distributed and documentaries on socially transmitted diseases (STDs) shown and related topics addressed in churches.

In Region Six, December 1 rallies were addressed by Minister of Health, Dr Leslie Ramsammy (Corriverton) and Dr Dennison David (New Amsterdam/Canje).

At Bartica, in Region Seven, several workplaces were visited to share information on the way to fight the dreaded sickness and the feature address at the rally was given by Dr Morris Edwards of the National AIDS Programme.

Winners of the Art, Essay and ‘Rap and Chant’ competitions were announced there and patients at Bartica Hospital were tested upon request and counselled by doctors.

In Region Three (West Demerara/Essequibo Islands) where 31 people tested positive and seven died this year, another 340 were examined and given counsel.