Region Five healthcare workers benefit from anti-stigma, discrimination training

The Ministry of Health through the National Aids Programme Secretariat (NAPS) has trained 27 healthcare workers in Region Five on the issue of stigma and discrimination and basic human rights for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) population.

The three-day session which ended on April 14, focused primarily on the impact of stigma and discrimination on the lives of persons living with HIV/AIDS and key population groups, discordant groups, and youths.

Healthcare workers are better equipped with enhanced knowledge and respect while providing care to persons living with HIV and the general populace.

Programme Manager of NAPS, Dr Tariq Jagnarine told the Department of Public Information (DPI) Thursday, that the training is the first of many that will be rolled out in other regions with various agencies this year.

“We just started with that 27, but we’re going to continue this week with Region Three and then from there, we [will] keep going to the other regions and then expand from healthcare workers to other groups,” he disclosed.

Programme Manager of the National Aids Programme Secretariat (NAPS), Dr Tariq Jagnarine

In the National HIV Strategic Plan (NSP) 2021-2025, it was highlighted that the biggest barrier to accessing HIV services in Guyana is primarily experienced at the individual, community, workplace, and health facility levels.

NAPS is working to ensure there is zero stigma and discrimination in the country.

In 2022, 205 ranks of the Guyana Police Force, 60 Guyana Defence Force ranks, 35 teachers, over 250 healthcare workers and 120 youths benefitted from the stigma and discrimination training. Officers of the Guyana Prison Service, the judiciary and the private sector will also benefit from the training.

“The stigma index is a survey that all countries do to evaluate the level of stigma that revolves around persons living with HIV, key population, vulnerable groups and it also looks at things like structural barriers, political barriers policies and legislation,”Dr Jagnarineexplained.

The effort also ties in with the government’s plans to end HIV/AIDS by 2030 in keeping with the United Nation’s goal.