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Red Cross Places Emphasis on Health Care

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Contact: Primus Hutchinson

Tuesday, May 07, 2002 - Red Cross, Red Crescent Day, will be observed worldwide on May 08, 2002, with the focus on encouraging the public to become familiar with the fundamental principles which govern the international movement. Delivering the annual Red Cross, Red Crescent Day message, St. Lucia’s Governor General, Dame Pearlete Louisy said, the public need to be continually guided by the principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and universality. Dame Pearlette added that these principles have guided the Saint Lucia Red Cross Society , throughout its fifty years of service to the country.

According to the Governor General, the Caribbean has grown to associate the Red Cross mainly with disaster relief, however the non- profit organization has been constantly reviewing its mandate and adjusting it to fit international and national circumstances.

Dame Pearlette stated also, that the Red Cross Society adopted strategy 2010 during their International Federation’s General Assembly in 1999, identified health care in the community as one of the core areas of intervention; setting the task of enabling communities to reduce vulnerability to disease, caring for people and preparing for and responding to public health care crisis.

There is no greater crisis according to Dame Pearlette, that is threatening public health globally, than HIV/AIDS. The Governor General indicated that while it is ultimately the responsibility of governments to maintain an effective health and welfare system for the nation, the Red Cross can make a significant difference to the health care of vulnerable people.

The Governor General explained that the Red Cross Societies have set themselves a challenge to improve the life of vulnerable people by organising a Global Campaign against HIV/AIDS which is being launched on May 8th, which is also observed as World Red Cross Red Crescent Day, under the theme, “The truth about AIDS- Pass it on”. She went on to indicate that it is the truth that must be passed on and not the AIDS.

Dame Pearlette stated that the campaign which is spearheaded globally, but managed and implemented nationally, will seek to change perceptions, attitudes, policies and behaviours with a view to ensure that HIV positive persons as well as those with AIDS will receive appropriate care, have access to affordable drugs so as to live useful lives within their communities.

The campaign according to the Governor General, will also work towards preventing further spread of the infection and increase individuals’ willingness to be tested.



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