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– survey revealsBy Sharmain CornetteAs the Guyana HIV response matures and with the current global situation dictating the urgent need for sustainability, it is crucial that local efforts accrue maximum benefit to the dollar spent. This observation was made by Programme Manager of the National AIDS Programme Secretariat (NAPS), Dr Shanti Singh.Dr Singh said that it is important that the work engaged locally be guided by evidence such as who are at risk; where are those who are at risk; when and how to best intervene and what works and what does not work.“This is ever so important at this juncture of the epidemic when much has been achieved in educating the general populations on the basics such as HIV transmission and prevention,” she added.But while efforts are made to ensure complete understanding, there is also need to address other factors such as alcohol and other substance use, sexual violence among others that are indirectly linked to HIV prevalence, she pointed out.Dr Singh’s remarks were made on Wednesday when the Ministry of Health, through NAPS, hosted phase two of a dissemination workshop on Biological Behavioural Surveillance Survey (BBSS). The forum which was held at the Regency Suites was designed to share the findings of the survey and facilitate stakeholders’ discussion on future programme direction.Six groups – Military Services, Police Force, In-School Youth, Out-of-School Youth, Commercial Sex Workers, Men who have sex with men – were targeted during the survey to determine their knowledge about HIV/AIDS.The findings, she said,Cheap NFL Jerseys Free Shipping, was realised through a collaborative process between partners and agencies including the Ministries of Health,Wholesale Jerseys Free Shipping, Home Affairs and Education, Non-Governmental Organisations and the PEPFAR Programme, from which funding was secured.According to Health Minister, Dr Leslie Ramsammy,Cheap Jerseys For Sale, Guyana’s public health system is enriched because of the availability of information.He highlighted that one of the important prerequisites for health is knowledge and awareness.Dr Ramsammy underscored that people require knowledge to be empowered and thus be able to protect themselves. “We in public health need the knowledge to know where the gaps exist. There can be no doubt that in Guyana we recognise an important gap as we pursue our fight with HIV…That important gap was the lack of knowledge among our people.”And over the years, the Minister said,Wholesale Authentic China Jerseys, efforts have been made to address the lack of awareness and knowledge. With the findings of the survey, he noted that it can be deduced that the vast majority of Guyanese have a high knowledge of HIV/AIDS.However, he warned that there are still pockets of ignorance that have been recognised for some time, but yet they stubbornly persist. “We have to do a better job of addressing these pockets of ignorance in our country so the task now is not merely to glorify and feel comfort…but while we take comfort,Cheap Jerseys China, these pockets pose the greatest threat to reversing the gains that we have made.”Speaking on behalf of United States Agency for International Development (USAID),Wholesale Stitched Jerseys, Matthew Nims, said that the USAID mission in Guyana is committed to supporting the Ministry of Health in accessing data for health decision making.The support for that survey, he added, is a symbol of that commitment, as the information collected will serve as a rich source of data for evidence-based programme planning.“As a key agency implementing PEPFAR, USAID more than ever recognises the value of solid health data to guide efforts to better understand the HIV epidemic locally. Globally PEPFAR emphasises the importance of strengthening health systems to deliver high quality HIV related services,” Nims related.And strengthening strategic information is a key part of this effort, according to him, thus USAID will remain a committed partner in supporting the Health Ministry to expand and institutional strategic information-gathering capabilities.Additionally, he noted that having access to good surveillance information can further boost the ability to understand the HIV epidemic and by extension help to better tailor the response to target HIV prevention, care and support efforts.
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