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Peer Counsellor's Movement Active Again

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Contact: Virnet St. Omer-Fontenelle

Tuesday, December 02, 2003 – As a result of funding from UNICEF, the Bureau of Health Promotion of the Ministry of Health, has revived the peer counsellors’ movement. In that regard, scores of young St. Lucians are being reintroduced to peer counselling.

The peer counsellor’s initiative was first introduced here in 1985 to tackle the issue of teenage pregnancy. The movement is now being used as one of many strategies to halt the spread of HIV/Aids in the community.

The re-launch of the movement took place last week in the community of Ti-Rocher in Micoud, with peer counsellors - old and new - being asked to recommit to making a difference in their lives and that of their peers.

The programme is based on the idea of using positive peer pressure to change attitudes, modify behaviour and develop a positive awareness of self.

Health Educator Miss Rose Aubertin says, peer counsellors recorded success in the past and under the theme “Live and Let Live Peer Educators Working Together to Control the Spread of HIV/Aids”, the Ministry of Health is hoping to see a reduction in the rate of infection in the community.

UNICEF is hoping for dramatic results in the fight against the deadly disease. Consultant Miss Sherian Dixon Holford says, the greatest hope in the struggle to control the disease and the key to preventing new infections is in the education of the youth about how they have the power to manage the spread of HIV/Aids by adopting healthy behaviour.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Fidelis Williams welcomed the rededication to saving lives in St. Lucia through the movement and called on peer counsellor’s to work together with government to stop the HIV/Aids pandemic from spreading further into their communities.


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