Ministry in more aggressive AIDS public awareness programmeSunday, November 27, 2005 – 12:33 pm
Source: Guyana Chronicle
AS WORLD AIDS Day which is observed on December 1 approaches, Health Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy has noticed “a sense of excitement” unforeseen during previous observances and feels this is testimony to the work his ministry and other agencies have doing in raising public awareness of the pandemic.
At a press conference Friday at his Georgetown ministry, Ramsammy stressed the need for a more aggressive public awareness programme with every sector more integrally involved in the fight against AIDS.
In this regard he challenged the media to become more deeply involved in the fight.
“I would like the media to become part of the fight,” he emphasised.
And as part of the incentive for the media, awards will be given to reporters for their contribution in the fight against AIDS and winners would have an opportunity with all expenses paid to attend the World AIDS Conference which is held every two years, he said. He added that this will be done in accordance with the Champions of Change programme in the Caribbean.
He announced that the observances will not be limited to the rally on December 1 at the ministry’s ground and that there will be a flurry of activities throughout the country to highlight and raise public awareness of the pandemic, which will culminate on December 31.
During this period also, the minister said, the focus will be on how well promises with respect to care and treatment of AIDS patients have been kept and details of this will be disclosed on World Aids Day. However, he indicated that Guyana has done a good job in meeting its targets.
With respect to the grand rally on December 1, Ramsammy said it will include entertainment, and 48 agencies have indicated that their staff will be given time off to attend.
In addition, he said a candle lit vigil is planned for the West Demerara as well as other activities in other regions.
Television and radio programmes aimed at educating and raising public awareness will also form part of the observances, the minister said.
He said two African priests who are HIV infected are here and will be delivering special messages.
The organising committee for the observance is a broad-based comprising a wide variety of local representatives as well as from international agencies such as the World Bank, United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF), UNAIDS, Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and several others.
“We want to show the world explicitly that we are united in the fight against HIV/AIDS,” Ramsammy assured.