Broad-based delegation heads to Caribbean HIV Conference

POSTED: 11/16/11 4:19 AM

Prime Minister offers insights on future response

PHILIPSBURG – St. Maarten’s 14 member delegation to the Caribbean Conference on HIV/AIDS in Nassau, Bahamas begins departing on Wednesday, November 16. The conference runs from November 18 to 21, and includes the 11th Annual General Meeting of the Pan-Caribbean Partnership for HIV/AIDS (PANCAP). The PANCAP AGM will be held on November 18.
The upcoming conference will deliver significant milestones for what is still a very young country. One of the first, simplest and most impacting is the fact that this is the largest delegation from St. Maarten to any regional or international meeting related to HIV. It is also the most diverse delegation as it contains representatives from the government, the private sector and non-governmental organizations.
“This level of participation can only bring good things to our country as it shows the broad support of the community for this issue and it allows for a wide array of partners to get the latest information that will inform policy initiatives and create new advocates,” HIV/AIDS Programme Manager Suzette Moses-Burton said.
“I am extremely pleased with the size and composition of the delegation, because it provides an opportunity for St. Maarten to extend its links further into the region and leverage years of work that have already gone into building a network of regional and international contacts previously made through the HIV/AIDS Programme,” Moses-Burton added.
Another of the key milestones is the fact that Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor Cornelius de Weever will become a member of PANCAP’s board. Moses-Burton, who is to receive a PANCAP award, will serve as his alternate. The installation will take place at the Executive Board Meeting on November 17.
St. Maarten has been deeply involved in the conference from the beginning as the country’s programme manager is a member of the planning committee. The actual meeting will see the participation deepen as delegates address a number of critical sessions. Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams who heads the delegation will speak at two sessions – a special session on non-communicable diseases and HIV, a session on issues, challenges and opportunities faced by small island states. She will also deliver an address at the closing ceremony entitled Insights into the future response.
The country’s involvement at the conference also includes a presentation by Moses-Burton titled [RED] Campaign St. Maarten: A model for successful public/private sector partnership who will also chair a panel discussion themed Stigma and Health Professionals. The President of the St. Maarten AIDS Foundation Dr. Gerard Van Osch will make a presentation titled Stronger Together to a more sustainable future and Head of the St. Maarten AIDS Foundation’s Prevention Unit Rajesh Chintaman will also deliver a presentation titled Free Rapid Testing: An alternative means to prevention and awareness. Next to oral presentations there will be also be a poster presentation on the Girl Power Program.
“This level of participation has given and will give voice to the specific issues and challenges that St. Maarten has faced because of its political status, and allow us to share how through creativity and partnership we have been able to still make major strides and live up to regional and international norms and standards,” Moses-Burton said.

Did you like this? Share it:
Broad-based delegation heads to Caribbean HIV Conference by

Comments are closed.