A WORD TO THE WISE
October 18, 2003
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This decision was taken at the sixth meeting of the Fund in Chiang Mai, Thailand, at a meeting October 15 to 17.
This is yet another instance of Guyana being able to advance the cause of the weak and powerless at the international level, and it speaks to the high regard with which the country is held in the eyes of the international community.
Guyana and other CARICOM member nations will now benefit from US$44 million over the next two years, with the possibility of that sum increasing to US$110 million over a five-year period.
This is quite a substantial sum, which will certainly go some way in the battle against this growing monster of AIDS. The funds are intended to allow for greater networking among CARICOM countries in areas of prevention, care, treatment and reduction of the stigmatizing and discrimination against people living with the virus.
In addition to benefiting from financing to fight the scourge of the dreaded AIDS, Guyana will also benefit financially from financial resources in the fight against malaria and tuberculosis. But, of course, additional financial assistance to emerging societies for their fight against HIV/AIDS is a big plus for these societies.
The issue of AIDS among CARICOM peoples is no laughing matter. The disease has the potential to wipe out a significant segment of the population if it is not arrested in a timely manner.
As a region, CARICOM ranks second in per capita terms, after Sub-Saharan Africa, in the number persons affected by the HIV/AIDS infection. And the majority of those infected are in the prime of their productive lives. Losing them will represent a significant loss to the region still grappling to come to terms with its human resources paucity - if no help is forthcoming and if the resources already at our disposal are not used to maximum effect.
But even with the availability of resources, personal action is vital. In other words, while one cannot be anything but grateful to the kind gesture of financial support extended to regional governments in the struggle to contain the spread of AIDS, it is the extent to which people can be persuaded to behave more responsibly and sensibly in the conduct of their sexual activities that success in all that is forthcoming will result.
For this to happen, there is need for greater inter-agency collaboration, especially those involving the home, the school and religious and social organizations.
In the final analysis, it is the choices that people adopt that can make the difference between life and death.
As the saying goes, a word to the wise is enough.