'We can win fight against AIDS'
- Minister tells World AIDS Conference

Guyana Chronicle
October 18, 2003

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HEALTH Minister, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, is of the strong view that the apocalyptic future of HIV/AIDS that some have predicted is not inevitable and that with hands and hearts together, our collective courage transcending borders and rejecting injustices, we can win in this fight against this life threatening illness.

"I believe that the opportunities are present for action to be taken now for scaling up the response in every country and we need to take bold steps to concretize tangible partnerships between the developed and developing countries," Ramsammy said during his address to the 6th Conference of Healthcare Resource Allocations for HIV/AIDS in Washington, US.

"As we look into ourselves as a human race as we celebrate many astounding accomplishments in the 20th century and how far we have developed as humanity to the 21st Century, nothing says more about how far we need to go, that we really have not arrived to the place we want to be," Ramsammy asserted.

"Let me share my personal feelings. I can't sleep well in the night because I can't accept the fact that each day in my country a baby might be born with HIV/AIDS. I can't sleep because I know that preventing that baby from being infected is possible and the tools are available to me," he posited.

"Each day that we fail to reach a pregnant woman to make PMTCT available to her is a failure on my part and a failure of those who work in the public health system of Guyana. But this is also true in all of our countries. It is my burden. It is all of our burdens. And I find it difficult to sleep at night," the Guyanese Health Minister said.

"How many more babies? How many more young women and men must die before we find it possible to use all the tools at our disposal to stop this scourge?," he questioned.

"How many more dreams are shattered before we are moved to mobilize all of our resources, all of our energies, all of our moral persuasions to stop this malady?" he queried.