State minister calls on Jamaicans to assist people suffering from HIV/AIDS

State minister calls on Jamaicans to assist people suffering from HIV/AIDS

Friday, November 20, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— As the nation prepares to observe World AIDS Day on December 1, Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, is calling on Jamaicans to assist those suffering from the illness during the pandemic.

She made the call as she officially launched World AIDS Day 2020 along with Country Director for the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) in Jamaica, Manoela Manova today at the offices of the Ministry of Health and Wellness in New Kingston.

With the current pandemic, people living with HIV/AIDS face even more hardships than before, including nutritional support, stigma and discrimination, and safeguarding their bodies from becoming infected with COVID-19.

Cuthbert-Flynn said that as a nation, it is important for Jamaicans to demonstrate what it means to tackle HIV and AIDS, and stand in solidarity with a sense of shared responsibility.

“Whether as funding partners, technical informants for policy design and programme implementation, or as medical workers serving people living with HIV and AIDS at the community level, we need to have all hands on deck,” she said.

“If there is one thing that the last several months has revealed, it is that when it comes to public health, no one is safe until all of us are safe. This fact is the reasoning behind this year's World AIDS Day theme, 'Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility',” she added.

Cuthbert-Flynn also noted that the COVID-19 global pandemic has presented multiple challenges to HIV/AIDS response on an international scale, and it is heartening to see people coming together at the online launch to “achieve global solidarity through shared responsibility”.

“As a global community, we now face challenges in the form of disruptions to service delivery due to curfews and quarantine, supply chain management issues, because of country lockdowns, increased demand for personal protective equipment for prevention and treatment services in the pandemic, as well as the reprioritisation of laboratory services for testing,” she said.

“Despite our challenges, the support of the global community and the commitment of our local stakeholders has enabled our national programme to continue to offer services at all levels. We are extremely grateful for the support,” she said.

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