Ramsammy satisfied with HIV/AIDS public awareness campaign
Guyana Chronicle
December 8, 2003

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GINA - Guyana has a comprehensive awareness programme to sensitise the public to the dangers of HIV/AIDS says Minister of Health Leslie Ramsammy.

"The best example is the cooperation of the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the private sector which work along with the public sector in the public awareness programme," said the Health Minister.

He pointed out that some of the NGOs throughout the country have had several successful programmes. He made reference to organisations such as Lifeline, Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association (GRPA), Artistes in Direct Support, Hope Foundation, Care Foundation, Comforting Hearts and Woodside Baptist Church, among others.

Dr Ramsammy said that the Government has used the electronic media for their awareness programmes such as ‘Words Have Power’ and ‘Ready Body’, and credited some international organisations for assisting in the public awareness campaigns.

"Through these organisations we are able to directly fund our programmes, and NGOs receive funding for their programmes," he added.

He noted in Guyana organisations like Family Health International (FHI) and Population Service International (PSI), which have extensive international experience, are lending their expertise to the health sector.

"I am extremely proud with my school health initiative, which started exactly one year ago," remarked Minister Ramsammy.

His goal was to have 23 School Health Clubs established by the end of 2003. So far, he has commissioned 16.

The main function of the School Health Club is to promote awareness of HIV/AIDS. Minister explained that with 23 School Health Clubs approximately 15,000 students would gain valuable information on HIV/AIDS.

The target for 2004 is the establishment of 50 School Health Clubs with membership of approximately 50,000 youths and teachers.

Population Service International is also being used by the Ministry of Health to train young people to use drama as a method of sending the message across. They have already conducted training in the Essequibo Islands and in Region Six (East Berbice/Corentyne).

"We have galvanized our society to ensure that every one of us has the facts of HIV, and my plea is that persons who have come to have knowledge of HIV/AIDS should spread the word," said Minister Ramsammy. (Government Information Agency)