HIV/AIDS fight to get US$3M by yearend
Guyana Chronicle
July 12, 2003

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Health Minister Dr. Leslie Ramsammy addressing participants at the opening session of the Rehabilitation Clinic at Skeldon Hospital. Seated at right is administrator Dr. Jadunauth Ragunauth. At left is Director of Rehabilitative Service in the Ministry of Health, Mrs. Barbara Lawrence.
GUYANA is expected to receive up to US$3 million from the United States before yearend to help Government finance a number of programmes geared to containing the spread of HIV/AIDS in the country.

The money is to come from US$50 million that the U.S. Government has released as part of a multi-year US$15 billion plan to combat the deadly disease in African and Caribbean countries. Guyana and Haiti and the Caribbean countries.

The plan, initiated by the Bush administration, was approved by the US Congress in March and endorsed by President Bush in May.

US Government backing will have a significant impact on Guyana’s anti HIV/AIDS programme for the remainder of this year and the first half of 2004.

These include a national programme on the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of the HIV/AIDS virus that gets underway by this month-end.

Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy said recently, that the programme, which first started as a pilot programme late 2001 with eight centers, will involve 32 centers nationally.

This is made possible through technical assistance from the United States Centres of Disease Control and Prevention and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), with funding from the Bush Initiative.

Minister Ramsammy noted that a significant number of babies infected with the disease, did so after birth, and through breast-feeding.

Dr. Ramsammy hands over the document of certificate to Anthony Bishop, President of the Schools’ Health Club at Skeldon/Line Path Secondary School, flanked by club members and teachers of the school.
Some children have also been known to be infected at the fetal stage.

Guyana’s infection rate has reached alarming proportions, ranging between five to seven per cent and rated as being among the highest in the world outside of sub-Saharan Africa. The Minister noted, too, that the Government of Guyana recognizes that Guyana has a problem and has purposefully designed a National Strategic Plan to combat the pandemic.

Minister Ramsammy further stated that the fact that there is a political willingness, with the Government recognizing the seriousness of the problem is in itself promising. Dr. Ramsammy believes that in a short time from now, Guyana will have one of the most comprehensive anti-HIV/AIDS programmes in terms of developing countries.