Wednesday, February 09, 2005 - The Government of St. Lucia continues to
invest substantial sums of money to ensure that persons living with HIV and AIDS
and their affected families are provided with the best support.
Last week, a EC$21.1 million St. Lucia HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Project
was launched at the Sandals Grande Resort, brining together representatives from
the public and private sectors, non-governmental organizations, and secondary
The project is funded by the World Bank as part of its support to Caribbean
countries under the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV/AIDS.
Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Kenny Anthony, Chairman of the National Council for
HIV/AIDS revealed that the economy had lost some EC$200 million to AIDS, since
its detection in the mid 80’s. He said the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control
Project would provide support to civil society organizations, the Ministry of
Health, and underlying ministries to implement effective strategies over the
next five years.
Dr Anthony said the project fitted squarely with the wider national health
reform agenda, and would concentrate on activities at the community level: “The
capacity building component includes the implementation of an integrated health
information system liking the entire health services from each health centre,
the investment in training each community health worker to deliver the necessary
health services in the community, and the investment in the bureau of health
promotion to ensure the implementation of an effective behavioural change
Dr. Anthony said he was looking forward to the day when St. Lucia can have draft
legislation to deal with the issues of discrimination, to protect persons living
The issue of discrimination against HIV/AIDS patients is also a concern for
Health Minister Hon. Damien Greaves. He said the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control
Project must not only focus on preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS, but on
fighting stigma and discrimination.
“The complex nature of the epidemic demands an appropriate response from
ministries and institutions charged with the responsibility to manage key
economic sectors. Therefore, all non-health ministries must take responsibility
for the protection of their employees and their clients from the spread and
impact of HIV/AIDS. We look forward to our brother and sister ministries and
other civil society organizations developing and strengthening their responses,
as we mount a coordinated and offensive against the insidious and formidable
foe”, Minister Greaves said.
The health minister said the HIV/AIDS epidemic did not only affect the country’s
health system, but also its economic development.