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Thread: AIDS in Belize

  1. #151
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    Ch 5:

    AIDS initiatives address many facets of disease

    After two decades of responding to the global pandemic of HIV and AIDS, experts have concluded that the response must stretch across all facets of the disease's impact, addressing treatment, prevention, and the social context. This week two separate training initiatives are taking place to advance that strategy. News five's Jacqueline Woods reports.

    Herman Bain, Living With HIV
    “It is not something that would just strike you down, kill you. It is something that you know what you can still live a little while, you can do some good, you can live a joyful and happy life still and you can still be loved and things like that.”

    Jacqueline Woods, Reporting
    Meet thirty six year old Herman Bain. For the past six years, he has been living with HIV. Bain has been managing the disease with medication, but he has also been struggling with another great battle ... his acceptance as a member of society.

    Herman Bain
    ”I myself have been through situations where I was discriminated. Not only by outsiders, but my own family because they are not educated about this disease, they don’t know anything about it. And you know, it kind of hurt people especially if their own family is going to discriminate you.”

    The lack of family and public support has had a negative impact on patient’s lives. Sometimes leading to depression, drugs and alcohol abuse and suicidal tendencies.

    Herman Bain
    ”I have a couple friends that I am working with and for them it’s like they can’t work because they are HIV positive, they cannot even visit their homes because their families are afraid that if they know that this is my daughter, that I would put out of work because my friend won’t want to talk to me because my daughter has HIV and AIDS. It is very hard on them.”

    There has been a countrywide effort for some time now to educate communities about HIV and AIDS and dispel the myths that have fueled the negative response. The work has not been easy. This past weekend the Dangriga HIV and AIDS Society’s billboard was vandalised. The initiative was a campaign to address the stigma and discrimination.

    Dr. Paul Edwards, Epidemiologist, Ministry of Health
    ”But we need persons living with HIV/AIDS to be empowered for them to say, you know what you can say what you want. You can say what you want, but you know what, they have the medication out deh for me and they have other services. And you now what, to hell with you; I am going to access these things. I wah live longer, I noh care what you say about me. We’ve got to confront this thing head on.”

    According to the Ministry of Health’s Epidemiologist Doctor Paul Edwards, the numbers of infections seem to have reached a plateau. But that does not mean we should become complacent.

    Dr. Paul Edwards
    “We still see approximately three hundred and thirty-six new HIV infections within the first nine months. That’s approximately a hundred and twelve per quarter. We anticipate four forty-eight, four-fifty. Last year it was four fifty-seven, right in the range of where it was, amidst the fact that we know that many more people now are accessing services and getting tested. So again, I talk about us being on that plateau in relation to new HIV infections and hopefully very soon in the next years we see those numbers going down.”

    This week, health care providers and the police are meeting in workshops geared towards addressing critical issues like finding the best approach when working with young people and the clinical management of HIV and AIDS. The health conference is to assist health care providers like community nurses aides by providing them with the necessary information.

    Dr. Paul Edwards
    “It is certainly one of the important pieces of the very big puzzle. We talk about HIV prevention, we talk about care, we talk about treatment. And within that we talk about clinical management of HIV and another very critical component of that is the psycho-social emotional support, very critical. One part of the puzzle acting in isolation is not sufficient, it is certainly not. However, the responsibility of the ministry is one of treatment and care.”

    Piecing together another part of the puzzle, Youth For the Future is working closely with community police officers to improve their ability to communicate effectively with young people and those persons who are infected or affected by the disease.

    Douglas Hyde, Coordinator, Y.F.F.
    ”I mean the information that is passed on here through these trainings are very, very important and very unique in so many ways that these officers can take it back to the community and sharpen their skills that they already have.”

    In the meantime, Bain says he remains committed to his cause and will continue to do his part to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS and try to build community support for patients like himself.

    Herman Bain
    ”I decide to come forward because I believe that people need to know that it’s okay. I mean, with HIV and without HIV, people are suffering and you don’t have to have HIV for people to discriminate you. And I realize that as a young man that has grown up in the streets and drugs, I have been to prison many times, I haven’t done anything for my community and I want to give back to my community. So I say living with HIV and AIDS I say you know what, I should just talk about it. And it helps me to feel better about myself and that’s why I want to be open about it.”

    Jacqueline Woods for News Five.

    The clinical management Conference taking place at the Princess Hotel is being facilitated by health care providers from throughout the Caribbean. The conference is being held in collaboration with PAHO and the Global Fund. Meanwhile, Youth for the Future's workshop was made possible through funding provided by the Global Fund and YFF.

  2. #152
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    Y.W.C.A. promotes AIDS education in barber’s chair

    If you've seen the movie or t.v. spinoff called Barbershop, you know that a lot more goes on in that environment than just haircuts. And that's exactly what leaders of the Y.W.C.A. are hoping as they work to make young people aware of the danger of AIDS. News Five's Kendra Griffith reports.

    Kendra Griffith, Reporting
    Today’s conference forms part of the activities for the Y’s fiftieth anniversary celebrations ... it’s also an extension of an on-going social initiative.

    Sonia Linares, Executive Dir, Y.W.C.A.
    “If you can recall, we opened what we call Bella’s Salon, part of the health programme where the cosmetology programme opened a new area, improved the salon services where we encouraged people to come in and they were also trained in HIV/AIDS and so we thought that it’s a good way of promoting the whole HIV/AIDS education and for part of the 50th anniversary we decided to work with the barbershops, and we selected eight barbershops.”

    For the next two days, fifteen barbers from eight shops will be trained in topics such as HIV, proper condom use, and small business management. At the end of the course, educational materials will be displayed in each of the shops to encourage dialogue.

    Beth Preston, HIV Coordinator, Y.W.C.A.
    “We will be setting up a resource corner in each barbershop where people can come and get information about HIV and AIDS, and also the barbers will have condoms available, for clients to come in and take and also to talk because the big thing is that in barbershops people like to talk, people go from maybe they are going to talk about politics or talk about whatever, so why not have it to talk about HIV and AIDS and how you can protect yourself.”

    While protecting oneself is a must in preventing the spread of HIV, as with most faith-based organisations, condom use is a touchy subject.

    Beth Preston
    “First and foremost, the Y.W.C.A. does promote abstinence as the only one hundred percent safe way of being HIV/AIDS free, so that’s first and foremost. We do, however, know that realistically that’s not always the case that people are going to be sexually active, so we are doing what we can to help by helping to provide condoms.”

    Controversy or no controversy, for barbers Fareed Ahmad and Ryan Reyes, the project is a positive development and they welcome the opportunity to pass on the knowledge that they have acquired.

    Fareed Ahmad, The Real Barbershop
    “It’s a very good idea. There’s a lot of information that people out there as much as people hear about AIDS everyday, they don’t know a lot or little of information that are key. I myself have heard a lot about AIDS, but coming hear I have learnt a lot, a lot more, like the ease of transmission, and I think that these information that we are getting should be also going to the public and that’s what we’re arranging here.”

    Ryan Reyes, Slip and Slide Barbershop
    “We have a lot of young people that come to the shop, so whenever they come, they’ll see the pamphlets and the posters in the shop. If they ask any questions, well I will try to answer them in a professional way, try to share the messages about AIDS with them.”

    But sharing a message with a willing subject is easy; how would the barbers handle someone who’s not so keen on the idea?

    Kendra Griffith
    “What would you do say for instance you buck up on somebody who’s like, man I noh want listen to this, I noh come to the barbershop fi mek nobody give me no lecture pan HIV/AIDS, all I want dah fi you just cut my hair. What then?”

    Ryan Reyes
    “I would tell them, it’s for your own good, if you don’t want to listen, you’re on your own, but if you want to listen to me I will tell you and I will try to share the message, but if you don’t want to I can’t force you to listen.”

    Fareed Ahmad
    “If you don’t want to listen, like my friend over here said, you are at a loss. Try to protect yourself, use a condom or abstain completely, but be real, there’s a disease out here and it’s here for all of us, if you don’t want look out. So watch out, be aware, use a condom.”

    But as the Y tries to make Belizeans face the reality of AIDS, the organisation has to deal with its own financial reality. According to Executive Director Sonia Linares, it costs the Y.W.C.A. between twenty and twenty-five thousand dollars a month to run their various programmes. Money that lately has been in short supply.

    Sonia Linares
    “We always say that God has been there with us, because at the end of the month we don’t know where monies would come from, but it appears. We have been working on a shoestring budget, but with the fees collected from our programmes and with generous business people, and with membership of the Y—we have friends from New York and L.A. and Miami, Atlanta, who would always assist us, so that is how we have been managing so far, and I cannot leave without mentioning the government of Belize, they came in when we were desperate, to assist us. So we are here and we will continue to be here because we feel like the work that we are doing is very important to the community.”

    Kendra Griffith reporting for News Five.

  3. #153
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    National AIDS Commission holds Workshop on Policies

    04 April, 2006 - Belmopan
    On Wednesday, April 5th the National AIDS Commission will conduct a
    Workshop on the National Policy on HIV/AIDS and the Workplace Policy at
    the Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel.

    The session will target managers and human resource personnel of both
    the public and private sectors as well as NGOs. Its purpose and
    objective are to build ownership in both Policies among top executives
    and to encourage business entities and organizations to recognize the
    vital role played by employers, employees and Government in fighting
    HIV/AIDS.

    It is expected that the 50 participants will also begin the process of
    formulating HIV/AIDS policies within their own workplaces for
    prevention, care and support, as well as the reduction of stigma and
    discrimination.

    The program is part of the efforts of the National AIDS Commission to
    build national capacity in the fight against HIV/AIDS with sponsorship
    from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

    Facilitators for the program Hotel will be Ms. Joan Burke, Mrs. Kathy
    Esquivel, Mr. Rodel Beltran Perera, Ms. Sheila Middleton, Ms. Ruth
    Jaramillo and Ambassador Dolores Balderamos García.

  4. #154
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    Ch 5:

    AIDS seminar focuses on workplace issues
    With estimates of the number of Belizeans infected with the HIV virus ranging from six thousand on up, it is no longer possible for the epidemic to be ignored by any sector of society. And with those most affected falling into the fifteen to forty-nine age group, the impact of AIDS is being increasingly felt in the nation's labour force. News Five's Kendra Griffith reports on efforts to deal with several facets of a growing problem.

    Kendra Griffith, Reporting
    The fifty men and women gathered today at the Biltmore Plaza represent the management of a wide cross section of companies, unions, and organisations. They were brought together by the National AIDS Commission, which is trying to enlist employers in the fight against HIV/AIDS, particularly stigma and discrimination on the job.

    Dolores Balderamos-Garcia, Chairperson, National AIDS Commission
    “That when participants leave here today they won’t just go home and say, well that was a nice day, but they will actually do something about it in their workplaces, because HIV/AIDS is with us and it will be with us for quite a while to come we know and the efforts have to continue apace.”

    And those efforts are now focussed on the implementation of workplace policies.

    Dolores Balderamos-Garcia
    ”A policy for a workplace can be as simply as two sentences or three sentences or a paragraph, it doesn’t have to be a fifty page document. Once you say: we support persons living with HIV, we want to be a part of prevention efforts, we want to reduce stigma and discrimination, and we want to do our part, because as Belizeans we are all in this boat together.”

    One company that is taking a proactive approach to the HIV situation is Belize Electricity Limited. The utility has drafted and will soon enact guidelines to add to its existing safety and human resource policies, thereby protecting the company and its two hundred and seventy-eight employees.

    Philip Waight, Safety and Training Engineer, BEL
    “As you look at it right now, the statistics are quite alarming and we figure that before it gets out of control, there’s need for us to work on a prevention method. And we figure that it could be quite costly if one does not work to minimise or reduce the possibility of HIV in the workplace in general.”

    “I think that the whole idea of a policy and a programme, getting a policy draft and put it in place and get a programme in place and also get a whole safety aspect, I must emphasise the whole safety aspect of it, you do well for both the company and the employees, so it’s a win-win situation that you get involved in.”

    Helping companies get on board with the idea of a specific HIV/AIDS policy is the International Labour Organisation. According to the I.L.O.’s National Project Coordinator in Belize, Sheila Middleton, the size of the company or organisation should not be a deterrent.

    Sheila Middleton, National Project Coordinator, ILO
    “We want to have something in place if we are to encounter somebody in the workplace that is HIV positive that there is a support system and a way that we will deal with them, that we will not discriminate, we will not fire them because of their status, because they are healthy people and they can work and contribute to society.”

    “It’s not only to have a workplace policy, but also to have a workplace education programme for the employees, because those are the two things that are happening at the same time with the companies that we are working. They are expected to do a workplace policy, as well as have a workplace education programme whereby the employees are educated about HIV and AIDS.”

    In the meantime, those involved in the fight are hopeful of what the future will bring

    Dolores Balderamos-Garcia
    “We have a long way to go, but I do believe that what we are seeing happening with all the various agencies on board that we are very much in the right direction right now.”

    Kendra Griffith reporting for News Five.

    According to Middleton, the I.L.O. is currently working with eighteen companies, nine of which have drafted workplace policies.

  5. #155
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    Ch 5:

    AIDS education targets media

    Last week it was management and workplace policies ... and in its continuing efforts to reduce both the transmission and stigma and of AIDS, this week the National AIDS Commission brought in a key player: the media. At a one-day seminar at the Radisson, TV, radio, and newspaper journalists were today briefed on current communication strategies in place and discussed ways in which they can help spread the message on HIV. According to communication consultant and workshop facilitator, Dr. Rovin Deodat, the media has a vital role to play in fostering social change.

    Dr. Rovin Deodat, Communication Consultant
    “The media actually is the intermediary between information. Good information, sometimes life saving information, and the broader public out there. The radio, the newspaper, the television screens; they all should, and very often they do carry information that will cause people to be able to think about better ways of living in terms of healthy living, better way of doing things. I know often when we think of media we think of entertainment only, but they do have the other responsibility of information and education as well.”

    “We looked at various ways in which the messages or communication products can be delivered to the public. And then we had a useful group session where participants actually sat down, took priority areas and priority target groups in the communication strategies and started to work on specific programme ideas for radio, for television, for newspaper and also starting to note the kind of resources and the kind of skills they would require to work properly in these areas.”

    And now that the priority areas and strategies have been discussed, both Dr. Deodat and the programmes and communications officer at the National AIDS Commission, Gabriel Carrillo, hope that the dialogue will not end with today's seminar, but that both parties will commit to a continuous and productive relationship.

    Dr. Rovin Deodat
    “My hope is this is the start of a process between the media communication fraternity in Belize with N.A.C. A relationship that will blossom into partnership, where both sides will be working on the same goals: that is to lessen and hopefully eliminate HIV/AIDS in Belize.”

    Gabriel Carillo, Programs and Communication Officer, N.A.C.
    “We knew that the media was the key conduit for information dissemination in Belize and so we had to have this workshop today to have you all dialogue as to what you are able to do and what you can commit yourselves in doing to assist Belize in the fight against HIV and AIDS.”

  6. #156
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    Aunt Grace on AIDS

    Protect Yourself from the Killa Virus

    Everyone has a story. It’s not how we tell it; it’s how we live it.
    In a research I conducted, I found out that forty five percent of our women who are sexually active are not using condoms. This is alarming since our girls are getting pregnant at an early age.

    Not protecting ourselves is one of the reasons why the HIV/AIDS virus is so rampant in our country.

    Women, if you are sexual active, let no one stop you from using a condom at all times. The only person you could have sex with and not use a condom is your husband or one who will not cheat on you as a mate. But please know that not using a condom will lead to pregnancy.

    Men, let no woman stop you from using condoms. The only person you could have sex with without a condom is your wife or your mate who values life and will not cheat on you. And once again, know that not using a condom will lead to pregnancy.

    In order to stop the spread of the AIDS virus we as adults must be responsible at all times. Remember that HIV/AIDS kills, and for many the virus is a death sentence. Moreover, it will hurt your children and members of your family too.

    When you are ready to have your children make sure you and your mate are honest with each other and don’t cheat on each other. We can slow down and even stop the AIDS virus, if we learn how important it is to protect ourselves and our families.

    One moment of sexual pleasure is not more important than your life. Some men don’t like to use condoms because it can be very uncomfortable, but we must protect ourselves from the Killa Virus. We are dying too fast.

    To all our people who are living with the AIDS virus, believe me when I say we share your pain, because it can happen to anyone. No one is immune to HIV/AIDS.

    But we do have a few people living with the AIDS virus who have become evil. They have a bad mind and are infecting other innocent people.

    Living with the virus does not mean that your soul is infected with the virus. But the moment you get evil and bad minded, and begin to infect innocent people, you have given your soul to the devil because infecting people wishfully is like murdering them.

    It makes no sense to lose your life and your soul together. With proper medication you can live long even though you may be infected with the virus. Also you have to create a positive mind, eat the right foods and work along with your doctor. Make sure your heart is clean, your mind is clear, because you don’t want to wake up in hell when you die. You want to wake up with Jesus holding your hands.

    Be spiritually wise and don’t commit murder by infecting innocent people. Remember we all come from the spiritual world and we all have to go back where we came from. For dying is just another part of life and it all depends on how we live our life. Keep the faith and don’t give up. The right thing to do is draw close to Jesus.

  7. #157
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    Ch 5:

    Behaviour strategy launched in fight against HIV
    All the experts agree that positive behaviour change is priority one in fighting the spread of HIV infection. Here at home, statistics show that the population most affected by the deadly disease is in fact the country's workforce. With that in mind, since last May the International Labour Organization and the Ministry of Labour have been brainstorming for ideas to promote healthier lifestyles in Belize. Today the final document was presented in Belize City ... and according to National Project Coordinator Sheila Middleton, the community participation is encouraging.

    Sheila Middleton, National Project Coordinator, I.L.O.
    “We are working with eighteen companies under the utilities, agriculture, sanitation, banking sector so we’ve gotten very good response from these companies. What we have done is that we’ve trained peer educators in each of these companies so they will be able to go back to their workplace and teach their co-workers about HIV and AIDS. What we did, you will notice that the strategy is developed into four key areas, basic information about HIV AIDS, developing a workplace policy, health care, seeking behaviour. So it has four different components and under these four components information will be transmitted to the general workforce.”

    “It does not only involve posters or doing ads on the radio, but also the workplace. The B.C.C. workplace programme involves a lot more, for example, peer education and the whole integrating HIV/AIDS into whatever activities the company has. For example in some of the companies that we are working with they’ve incorporated HIV into their family day, their newsletter, their payslips, giving messages about HIV/AIDS. So it’s much more than just having a poster out or a radio ad or a TV ad, it involves a lot more.”

    Companies interested in participating in the I.L.O. workplace education programme can visit Middleton at number five Albert Street West.

  8. #158
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    Ch 5:

    U.N. officials establish HIV support network in Belize

    Today, the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition met with their counterparts in Belize to establish a support network for persons infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. According to Laison officer of the United Nations Population Fund Jewel Quallo Rosberg, the community based initiative is a welcomed effort.

    Jewel Quallo Rosberg, U.N.F.P.A., Laison officer, Belize
    “The whole idea is to give a voice to these groups, which we felt was a gap, so that they can speak out in defence of themselves and using a human rights based approach. The question then is, what are the rights of individuals regardless of the group that they find themselves in? And the extent to which those groups need to be handled or addressed, or have concerns and issues, and also the need for support services.”

    Dr. Robert Carr, Co–Chair, C.V.C.
    “One very important thing that has been achieved is that groups have begun to realize that they are not alone. They begun to realize that they are partners working on similar issues at the national level and also begun to realize that they are groups working at the regional level. For example, if we take the instance of inner-city youth, they are groups working at the community level with inner-city youth throughout the Caribbean. French, Dutch, Spanish, English and Creole speaking but very often they work in isolation, so they have to reinvent the wheel every time. There is no documentation and there is no opportunity to share information, so what this project does is it allows groups like that to learn about each other and to share and to strengthen their own programming at home base on the dialogue and the conversations they are able to have with others around the Caribbean who are doing similar work.”

    “What this coalition is able to do is to put on the table that there are some groups whom society feels it’s appropriate to discriminate against or whom society feels is acceptable to discriminate against and very often people working with these groups are fragmented. They don’t realize that they share a common struggle that they are in fact working with groups who are marginalized from the society. One of the more powerful things that we are able to do at the national level, is to put on the table, listen we are struggling with a serious dynamic here, and how can we learn form each other and support each other.”

    Today's session was funded by United Nations Population Fund.

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    Ch 5:

    B.D.F. personnel receive AIDS education

    This week approximately twenty soldiers from the Belize Defence Force are participating in an HIV/AIDS workshop at Price Barracks. But it's not your run of the mill education session; instead the soldiers are putting their heads together to come up with a plan to strengthen their prevention effort and find ways of mitigating the effects of the disease on the military. The sessions are being facilitated by Belize's Martha Carrillo and Major Cheryl Brown of the U.S. military's Centre for Disaster and Humanitarian Medicine. Both say that coming together is key in combating HIV.

    Martha Carrillo, Workshop Facilitator
    “We are engaging in a process of strategic planning for the Belize Defence Force, specifically for HIV/AIDS. We know that any response to HIV/AIDS needs to be strategic. We need to be able to come together as a force and recognise what are some of the needs within the force, what is really the situation of HIV within the force and then be able to come up with goals, specific goals and priority areas that we want to focus on. And so the opportunity to bring together different members of the Belize Defence Force from different ranks provides a consultative process as well as a working session for the development of a specific strategic plan for the Belize Defence Force.”

    Maj. (Ret.) Cheryl Brown, Programme Mgr., CDHAM
    “This disease can destroy the military which also sets other countries up for invasion or terrorist activities. And the United States got very involved because of that, and because AIDS is also a global issue, it’s an epidemic. It’s at epidemic proportions now, so we have to help each other in order to make this process or to get rid of this disease and that’s why we are so involved with it.”

    The workshop runs through June thirtieth.

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    Ch 5: (cont)

    ... but mandatory testing will stay

    But while the B.D.F. is finding a way to deal with the invasion of HIV into its ranks, it is at the same time trying to deal with its controversial practice of mandatory HIV testing. In December a National Policy on HIV was proposed, which prohibits mandatory testing of employees. But according to Force Medical Officer, Lt. Col. Irvin Gabourel, while the B.D.F. recognises what the National AIDS Commission is trying to do, it also has a duty to protect the nation.

    Lt. Col Irvin Gabourel
    “The primary goal of the B.D.F. is to defend the country of Belize, its borders and we also provide support to the police force and we want to be doing this in the most healthiest situation possible. When you have somebody with HIV, their immune system is not integral. They could go from being HIV positive to full-blown AIDS at any given time. So if you submit this individual to very rigorous training, again their immune system will deteriorate and they will become full-blown AIDS. So yes, we have to strike a balance there. Don’t ask me where that is, but we are working at it.”

    The B.D.F. continues to require prospective soldiers to undergo mandatory HIV testing and anyone who tests positive will not be inducted. Those already in the B.D.F. who test positive are given medical treatment and family support.

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    Ch 5:

    AIDS commission chair says B.D.F. HIV testing is wrong

    The National AIDS Commission has fired off a press release responding to remarks made on Tuesday's newscast by B.D.F. Medical Officer Doctor Irvin Gabourel defending the practice of mandatory HIV testing of recruits. According to N.A.C. chair, Dolores Balderamos-Garcia, the National AIDS Policy specifies that mandatory testing should not be used as a basis for excluding persons from working--and that includes employment in the B.D.F. Balderamos-Garcia contends that just because someone is HIV positive, it doesn't mean he or she can't do the job.

    Dolores Balderamos Garcia, Chair, National AIDS Commission
    “This is actually the policy of the land, both the workplace and the National HIV/AIDS policies.”

    Kendra Griffith, Reporting
    “Has it been passed into law?”

    Dolores Balderamos-Garcia
    “It hasn’t been passed into law, but a policy leads to the next steps of making the amendments and adjustments to the legislation. We have to start with the policy framework and if as a country we have a policy of not forcing testing or not having mandatory testing, then we have to call on all partners to abide. And this is why we felt it necessary, not to be quarrelsome or argumentative or anything, but we felt that if there is one policy in the country, we have to promote that policy without exception. Because if the B.D.F. can say, well you know because our soldiers have to be fit and they have to do rigorous exercise we don’t want anybody with HIV within in the force, and so you screen people out. Then the coast guard might come up and say we can do that or some other agency or non-governmental organisation might jump up and say, if the B.D.F. can do it, so can we."

    “I would never be here saying that organisations that require high physical activity don’t have the responsibility to carry out medical tests. I think it would be irresponsible of the National AIDS Commission to ever suggest that. Naturally there has to be proper medical tests for various kinds of employment. I mean everybody, women have to do our pap smear, we have to do our breast exam, and men have to do their P.S.A. test for prostate cancer. Screening does need to take place to maintain people’s good health, but the point we want to make, focussing specifically on HIV and AIDS, is that in and of itself, the HIV status in and of itself should not be the reason to screen somebody out of an employment.”

    We are not sure exactly where this controversy is headed but as it stands the B.D.F. continues to screen for HIV as well as a number of other medical conditions that it believes render an applicant unfit for the rigorous requirements of military service.

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    ch 5

    Faith based initiative seeks to combat AIDS
    When you think about those institutions in society that are leading the fight against HIV and AIDS, the church is not likely to be the first one to come to mind. But things are not always what they seem, as News Five's Kendra Griffith discovered this morning.

    Canon Leroy Flowers, Pres., Belize Council of Churches
    “I am amazed that people talk about the church not being there. Who are the ones who sit at people’s bedside, who are the ones who comfort family members when they have lost a loved one. When all the hype and they have left and their services are no longer there, who are the ones? It has been pastors and church members.”

    Kendra Griffith, Reporting
    And today the religious community launched its latest effort in the fight against HIV entitled “The Faith Based Manual for the Response to HIV and AIDS.”

    Rt. Rev. Phillip Wright, Bishop of Belize
    “The manual is hopefully will give churches an opportunity to improve and better minister to those infected and affected with HIV and AIDS, so that there is somewhat of a consistency. And also I believe the manual will help us to move forward together in terms of our contribution to the fight against this dreaded disease.”

    The manual is the result of a year and half of meetings and workshops between the different denominations that comprise the Council of Churches. It includes basic information about the virus and offers tips on how to counsel and handle infected persons and their families.

    Rt. Rev Phillip Wright
    “It’s for pastors and it’s for other members of the church, who are perhaps directly involved in the care and ministry to the sick and those infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.”

    And the move could not have come at a better time, as statistics continue to cause concern.

    Rt. Rev Phillip Wright
    “Recently it was noted that Belize has the highest prevalence in Central America and is ranked fifth in the Caribbean I believe in terms of rate of infections. Globally of the forty or so million people living with HIV/AIDS, more than twenty-five percent I believe are between the fifteen and twenty four. This age group represents approximately one-third of the Belizean population. We can therefore my friends appreciate the impact HIV/AIDS is already having on our country as it is.”

    UNICEF Representative in Belize, Rana Flowers, is banking on the church’s influence and large following to reduce that impact, especially in the areas of infection rates, stigma and discrimination.

    Rana Flowers, UNICEF Rep in Belize
    “The answer to halting HIV lies in this room; it lies with the churches. It lies with the voice of the churches being raised powerfully, strategically, honestly and in ensuring that from the smallest of their congregation to the oldest. We are not only giving them the information to prevent the spread of HIV, but we are giving them the information that makes them care for those people in their community who are affected by HIV. And with the grace of God we will exceed expectations and not just to be a significant player, but I believe THE significant player that contributes, that makes THE difference in this fight against HIV.”

    It’s a challenge that the Council of Churches is willing to take on ... starting with a change in attitude on some touchy subjects.

    Canon Leroy Flowers
    “The church has got to recognise that young people are sexually active. Now how do we bring that across in terms of a theological response in terms of maintaining the human dignity. That is a challenge to us, but I am happy to say that we have made great strides as a council and as a faith-based community to trying to put our differences aside to address the needs of young people because at the end of that day that is why we are called to serve. This is a disease, this is not a punishment from God as was originally put forward in the Christian community, but is a common understanding that it is affecting—as the main speaker said this morning, this disease has no respect of gender, race, creed or religion. It is like every other disease and if we begin to approach it from that angle they will then stop being so judgemental.”

    The Belize Council of Churches has established an umbrella organisation, COMFORTH, the Community for a Faith-based Response to HIV/AIDS, which will be responsible for carrying out the church’s projects. At today’s launch a signing took place in which UNICEF agreed to provide funding for the HIV-related activities of the Council of Churches.

  13. #163
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    449
    Dis da di plague di Bible mi di talk bout nuh true Rosy?


    Originally posted by Mosquitorose
    ...yu watch...dah amagetahn di come fe tru hahhahaha..even tho mi nuh belive inna dah rass....

  14. #164
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Belize
    Posts
    20,913

    Ch 5:

    Anglicans take active stance on AIDS education

    On the heels of last month's initiative by the Belize Council of Churches, one its members--the Anglicans--have made their own commitment to fighting the AIDS epidemic. News Five's Kendra Griffith has the story.

    Kendra Griffith, Reporting
    Armed with funding from the Episcopal Relief and Development office in the United States, today the Anglican Diocese officially launched its HIV/AIDS Education Project.

    Carol Babb, General Manager, Anglican Schools
    “HIV and AIDS is a terrible disease and it has affected our country, especially our young people. And as a church, we feel that we need to play a role too in the helping of prevention of this dreadful disease.”

    The diocese plans to educate staff, teachers, students, and parents on how to reduce their risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and preventing stigma and discrimination.

    Carol Babb
    “Right now we are training the teachers. Then after that we will go into the schools to see how well they are implementing the knowledge and strategies that they have learnt. And if we need to do any revisiting of any training then we’ll do that.”

    Kendra Griffith
    “This will be done as a separate subject, or will it be integrated into a subject already in the class?”

    Carol Babb
    “It will be integrated with the social studies, science, and even in the other subject areas like language arts.”

    Kendra Griffith
    “But how will the church deal with the sticky subject of condom use?”

    Carol Babb
    “We have to mention the use of condoms, but definitely we are going to promote abstinence.”

    The training will be conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, through its Health and Family Life Education Unit.

    Sherlene Neal Tablada, HFLE Officer, Min. of Education
    “Teachers will then be provided with a tool kit for implementation of HIV/AIDS education, which will have basic things like information, sample lesson plans, teaching/learning materials, such as posters flip charts and relevant publications. So they will be given information that they can use in the classroom. The project is not occurring in isolation. This is a part of health and family life and it falls under the sexuality and sexual health component of the curriculum, where HIV/AIDS is a component. So it’s not like we just picked out some things out of the air. It’s already there in the curriculum, and so this is just to support that component of the curriculum.”

    Combined with the overall efforts of the Belize Council of Churches, this latest initiative has those involved in combating HIV optimistic about the future.

    Jose Coye, Minister of Health
    “I commend you very much, and I wish you the success. I believe you are on the right track. We will overcome, we can conquer it. It is in this kind of forum that we will build the militia and build the army in the fight against AIDS.”

    Dolores Balderamos-Garcia, Chair, National AIDS Commission
    “The church has an extremely important role to play. We are not expecting that every single church denomination might embrace every single means of prevention or every kind of intervention. But when we work together, if you stress what the left hand can do, I can stress what the right hand can do; ultimately when we put it all together, we see that we have a very encouraging picture.”

    Carol Babb
    “We hope that at the end of this training, and working with the students and providing them with the materials, that definitely we will help to decrease the incidences of HIV and AIDS.”

    The pilot phase of the project is expected to last nine months and includes one secondary and six primary schools, one hundred and forty-two teachers, twenty-nine hundred students, and eighteen hundred parents.

    Kendra Griffith reporting for News Five.

    The schools involved in the pilot phase are All Saints, Queen's Square, and Anglican Cathedral College in Belize City; St. Peter's in Orange Walk; St. Andrew's in Cayo; St. John's Memorial in Placencia; Dangriga's Christ the King; and from the Belize River Valley, St. Thomas Primary.

  15. #165
    griff Guest

    I NEVER CAUGHT ANY STD'S IN MY LIFE

    Originally posted by cookiegirl
    I agree with you EM, the type of mentality that exists in this country and the absence of consideration and sense make it easy for people to be getting this disease.

    Nowadays, you don't even know who is carrying this disease, and noone, i notice, seem to care to take care of themselves. Everybody wants the next score and they fail to see at what costs. Responsiblity for something like this falls on one self.
    CookieGirl!!!! I will come prepared.

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