UNAIDS-Lancet Commission:Defeating AIDS- Advancing Global Health Report

Caribbean Launch of the UNAIDS Lancet Commission Report: Defeating AIDS- Advancing Global Health Welcome Remarks on behalf of Prime Minister, Barbados, Hon Freundel Stuart    By Hon.  Stephen Blackett, Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment

It is my pleasure to welcome you all to this event on behalf of the Hon Freundel  Stuart,    Prime Minister of Barbados, who unfortunately has duties as Chair of the 36th Conference of CARICOM Heads of Government which prevent him from attending this Launch. 

 

The UNAIDS –Lancet Commission must be congratulated for the careful and constructive  analysis in the Report  which  reveals that despite remarkable achievements in the last 30 years,  HIV still remains a major threat to public health. Too many people are becoming newly infected with HIV, too many people do not know they have HIV, and too many are dying from AIDS related causes.

 

In this region we need our research and policy institutions to provide the compelling evidence about the combinations of biomedical and behavioral prevention measures, required to reduce AIDS related mortality, and new infections, based on the specific circumstances of our respective countries.

 

As we embark on this Caribbean launch of the Report, it must be recognized that the Caribbean is well positioned to be among the first regions in the World to end the AIDS epidemic. Let us not forget that through collective efforts of functional cooperation and partnership with PAHO during the 1980s, this region was the first in the World to eliminate polio and small pox. In 2000, less than one month after the UN General Assembly Special Session initiated the Global fund for HIV TB and Malaria, the Caribbean Heads of Governments at its Conference in the Bahamas issued the Nassau Declaration the Health of the Region is the wealth of the region.  That declaration identified the Pan Caribbean Partnership which was subsequently inaugurated here in Barbados 2001 and the Caribbean Cooperation in Health as the pillars of sustainable health and development of the Region.  It was the CARICOM Ministers of Health in 2002 in collaboration with WHO/PAHO and UNAIDS that negotiated the first ever large scale reduction in the price of ARV with six pharmaceutical. More recently in 2013, the Caribbean Heads of Government again took the bold step to establish the Caribbean Public Health Agency, the merger of five regional agencies into one institution. Earlier this week at PAHO in Washington DC, we in this Hemisphere celebrated the landmark achievement of Cuba as the first country in the World to receive WHO validation for the elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV and syphilis. What an achievement.

 

As countries around the world and the UN System are basically in transition from the Millennium Development Goals  to the  Sustainable Development Goals in the post 2015 era , the Caribbean Launch of this UNAIDS - Lancet Report can again act as a catalyst for this region to take the relevant recommendations and apply them appropriately to achieve the grand health alliance : an alliance that takes the lessons learned from the AIDS response over the past three decades not only to end the AIDS epidemic but also to transform the landscape , health for all. 

 

Thank you

It is now my great pleasure to request Mr. Ban Ki moon UN Secretary General to launch the UNAIDS- Lancet Commission Report: Defeating AIDS – Advancing global health   

(See attached Programme)