Monique's to launch support programme for HIV/AIDS carriers
By Shirley Thomas
August 19, 2003
A new Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) which seeks to provide a supportive environment for Persons Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) is to be launched in the city on Thursday.
The organization called "Monique's Helping Hands" is the brainchild of the board of Directors of the New York-based Caribbean People International Collective Inc. (CPCI) working to empower and bring new hope to Persons Living with HIV/AIDS, as teaching persons generally - the benefits of voluntary testing and counseling, and positive behaviour change.
A building to house the facility has been secured at Lot 72 Pineapple Street, East Ruimveldt, but initially the service will be operated from Norton Street, Newburg.
Monique's Helping Hands will be directed by a team of dynamic health professionals and volunteers with a passion for humanitarian service, and helping to improve the physical condition and emotional state of people.
A team of officials from CPCI, including Chief Executive Officer-Founder of CPCI, Ms. Dawne Fraser Stewart; Assistant to the Director - ms. Pansy Waldron and Treasurer, Gordon Lyken, and Mrs. Hyacinth Blue - Nurse and Founder of the "Anne Blue Scholarship Fund", yesterday addressed a press Conference in the Ministry of Health Boardroom, Brickdam, to announce the launching of Monique's Helping Hands Ground.
Ms. Fraser Stewart said the its primary mission is to promote healthy lifestyles amongst persons of Caribbean descent, as well as Caribbean-Americans in a professional, culturally based atmosphere where all those involved may benefit from knowledge and access to testing, counselling, educational practices, and life skills, giving them the opportunity to maintain a totally healthy lifestyle.
Above all, she said, the oganization is premised on the principle that all people are created for a purpose, regardless of physical appearance and human weakness.
Moving to resolutely stamp out stigma and discrimination against persons Living with HIV/AIDS, the Guyana Programme (Monique Helping Hands) aims to achieve the following:
** allow PLWHAs to gain support and care through the initiative
** increase considerably (by 10 per cent) by year 2005, the number of persons opting for voluntary testing and counseling
** to increase considerably the proportion of HIV-infected persons in the network comprising Regions 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.
** increase the numbers of HIV infected people in the network who are linked to appropriate prevention, care and treatment services
** have an effective community planning process and support services
** HIV counseling, testing and referral and partner counseling and referral, with strong linkages to medical care, treatment and needed prevention services
** Health education and risk reduction activities, including individual, group and community level interventions
** Establish food and clothing pantry for persons affected by the HIV and AIDS epidemic Meanwhile, beginning today, the visiting team will be holding training sessions for members of the Police, Prison Service, and Fire Department over the next few days, The training is intended to equip them, not only to carry on the anti HIV-AIDS campaign, but according to Ms. Fraser Stewart, will be aimed at encouraging healthy behaviours generally, healthy lifestyles and all those things that go to lift persons' self-esteem and self worth, ultimately making them "healthy, whole and marketable."
While here the group CPIC which also works extensively with children, will also visit the "Save our Children" Orphanage, East Coast Demerara, among others.