Govt committed to ensuring “we keep our population safe from diseases” – Min. Lawrence

─ implement programmes on prevention and control of HIV/AIDS and other Communicable Diseases

─ CMO report to be published soon

DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence yesterday reassured that her ministry is committed to implementing programmes geared towards the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS and other Communicable Diseases with the budget available.

Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence speaking to media operatives

“It is the responsibility of the Ministry of the Public Health to ensure that we keep our population safe from diseases and we have been doing so in collaboration with other ministries and NGO’s,” Minister Lawrence said.

The minister made this statement at the launch of a Medex training programme on Monday last. She was responding to media claims that there might be an increase of HIV/AIDS cases in the country.

Minister Lawerence indicated that the number of persons with HIV/AIDS in Guyana has to be confirmed by the Ministry of Public Health’s Chief Medical Officer.

She told media operatives that while she could not provide an exact figure, she will be attending a ‘preliminary’ meeting with the National AIDS Programme Secretariat (NAPS) and other public officials on Wednesday, September 5, 2018, to confirm the amount.

“That number has to be confirmed. Very soon we will be putting out the Chief Medical Officer’s (CMO) report which has not been published for several years. I was made to understand there are changes in the way in which the reporting is done now – that the numbers are no longer collated together,” the minister said.

She explained that due to reduced public awareness there is a belief that there may be an increase in the number of HIV/AIDS cases in Guyana. According to the Health Minister, the Non-Governmental Organisations and foreign-funded programmes were at the helm of supporting this public awareness.

“It was the NGO’s who were the gatekeepers, some who are no longer existing or they are not working in wide areas as they previously did,” she said.

However, despite this setback, the minister guaranteed that her ministry will continue to implement programmes to prevent and control HIV/AIDS and other Communicable Diseases.

Kimberley Ferreira

Image: Kennyann Bacchus

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