PANCAP News-in the caribbean
Minister Skelton says no backward steps in the fight against HIV
- Last Updated on Monday, 26 March 2012 13:44
- Published on Monday, 26 March 2012 13:41
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ROADTOWN Tortola BVI, March 23rd, 2012 – Minister for Health and Social Development, Honourable Ronnie W. Skelton has stated that the Territory cannot afford to make any backward steps in the fight against HIV/AIDS after all the progress that has been made in combating the epidemic.
Honourable Skelton made these remarks at yesterday’s opening ceremony of the National Planning Workshop for HIV/AIDS which is currently being held in the Virgin Islands.
Honourable Skelton noted that the HIV/AIDS epidemic is a complex problem worldwide and thus, the planning workshop for the Virgin Islands is timely. The health minister admitted that while the country faced harsh economic times, he pledged his support to ensuring that the necessary resources are allocated to combat HIV.
“The Virgin Islands has made significant strides to combat the associated discrimination and stigma against persons living with HIV in the Territory, but there is still more to be done,” Honourable Skelton said.
The two-day workshop has brought together policy makers in the public and private health, tourism and finance sectors, along with persons representing non-governmental organisations.
Participants are benefiting from the expertise of the Pan American Health Organisation HIV Caribbean Office (PHCO) in the development of the national strategic plan which will enhance the Territory’s response to HIV/AIDS.
Minister Skelton shared that the workshop is being facilitated to assist the Virgin Islands with creating a strategy and a funding mechanism to fight HIV in the Virgin Islands, and he urged stakeholders to lend their support and voices to eradicating HIV/AIDS locally and globally.
PHCO consultant, Mr. Roger McLean who is facilitating the strategic planning process urged participants to ensure that the plan becomes a living document and is revised according to the needs of the population.
The National Strategic Plan for HIV will outline the strategic direction of the national HIV response for the Virgin Islands, by clearly defining key strategic objectives and activities to achieve the goals of the plan over the next five years, and ensuring that the Territory’s response is better coordinated and effectively implemented to mitigate the effects of the disease on the people.
The workshop was convened by the National AIDS Programme of the Ministry of Health and Social Development, in conjunction with the PHCO.
The Ministry of Health and Social Development endeavours to provide leadership that promotes health, social well-being and a safe environment.