Grenada to make its mark on the world stage in the fight against HIV/ AIDS

Tuesday, June 7, 2011 5:17 PM

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ST. GEORGE’S, GRENADA, TUESDAY, JUNE 7, 2011 – Grenada is making its mark on the world stage in the fight against the HIV and AIDS epidemic, as being the only country in the Caribbean to record a zero percent mother-to-child HIV/AIDS transmission.

The achievement of the program, dubbed Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT), is credited to the commitment and dedication of staff at the National Infectious Diseases Control Unit (NIDCU) and the Community Nursing Division of the Ministry of Health. 

The Grenadian-styled program will be one of the highlights at a high-level United Nations HIV/AIDS meeting starting June 8 in New York.

Grenada’s delegation to the meeting, which ends June 11, is headed by Prime Minster Tillman Thomas. It includes Health Minister Sen. Ann Peters; NIDCU Director Dr. Jessie Henry; and Chairman of the National Aids Council, Terry Charles.

The zero percent mother-to-child HIV/AIDS transmission is a “landmark achievement for Grenada,’’ Sen. Peters said ahead of the UN meeting. “We can and will speak proudly of that. Many other countries are working towards such a goal.’’

With other countries seeking Grenada’s assistance to successfully implement the PMTCT program, Grenada is in a strategic position to attract funding and other support in the ongoing HIV/AID fight, Sen. Peters said.

The Grenadian Health Minister said the meeting will also give Grenada an opportunity to hold discussions with top officials and review the country’s progress relating to universal access to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care.

An examination will also be taken of the integration of HIV/AIDS response into the community, as part of Grenada’s national primary healthcare agenda.

Sen. Peters described the meeting as a pivotal moment in the history of the UN’s response to HIV and AIDS. It marks 30 years since the onset of the AIDS epidemic.

It is also 10 years since a landmark UN meeting when HIV/AIDS was declared a global emergency. In addition, it is the halfway point towards achieving the millennium goals, which include halting and preventing the spread of the diseases by 2015.  

The four-day conference will attract hundreds of delegates, who are expected to call for additional action and assistance in combating AIDS and HIV. 

 St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minster, who heads the CARICOM Sub-Committee on Health, is expected to make a special presentation on behalf the Caribbean Community, which wants more support to fund HIV/AIDS initiatives in the region.

Dr. Denzil Douglas will present a declaration that was drafted at a recent CARICOM meeting.

The effects of HIV and AIDS are said to impact heavily on the Caribbean.  Sub-Saharan Africa is reported to be worst affected area; the Caribbean is listed as second largest territory affected by the epidemic.





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