The Ministry of Health and Social Services, through the National HIV/AIDS Response Programme, joins the entire world in observing World AIDS Day on Sunday the 1st of December 2019, under the theme “Communities Make the Difference”.
It has been over three decades since the HIV and AIDS pandemic has been affecting the people of our beloved country, and together with the World Health Organization, we continue to strive towards meeting the goal of eradicating HIV and AIDS by the year 2030, just one decade away.
Over the years, great emphasis has been placed on research and development, policy and programming, advocacy, and implementation as we confront the challenges that still persist on the journey to reaching this goal.
As a country, if we are to meet the mandate that has been set, provision for health care needs can no longer be driven by only the public health systems, but rather by every individual. The ministry, therefore, has adopted a more community-centred model of care which, we believe, is very timely and is in keeping with this year’s theme.
With this community-centred model we are encouraging every organization, individual, business and institution to join us in our quest to prevent further infection and eliminate HIV/AIDS. It is clear that every one of us belongs to a community and we should, therefore, commit to the fight against this disease.
The theme, “Communities Make the Difference”, lends to the saying “Your health is your responsibility”. As a ministry, we are also saying that your health is our health and your health is that of your country as well. This means that the goals of eradicating HIV and AIDS must be done in a collective approach, at all levels. The unchanging responsibility of informing yourself and others on the matters of health, to include HIV and AIDS, will forever remain constant.
The National HIV/AIDS Response Programme, under the portfolio of the Ministry of Health and Social Services, in collaboration with other relevant stakeholders, reaches out and empathizes with all individuals and families who have been affected in one way or the other by this disease.
The Ministry, and by extension the Government of Dominica, will continue to provide the necessary support to make the quality of life those affected as fulfilling as possible.
We, however, implore each and everyone to respect each other’s right to accessible, equitable quality and acceptable health care no matter what their health status may be.
The National HIV/AIDS Response Programme will be conducting testing and counselling services in districts and communities across the island from now until the 15rth of December.
Various activities, including engaging organizations and businesses to spearhead prevention interventions with the aim of positively impacting communities, will be the main focus in the months ahead.
We once again challenge everyone to be a part of the “Community that Makes a Difference” and encourage you to join the ministry on the observance of World AIDS Day 2019.