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Jun 17, 2005

Funding agencies evaluate AIDS effort

Story PictureThe Prevention of HIV/AIDS among Youth in Especially Difficult Circumstances is an initiative that seeks to do just that, stop the spread of the disease among Belize’s most vulnerable population. These include commercial sex workers, adolescents, out of school young people, homosexuals, and prisoners. But how much progress has been made towards that goal? A report was given today at the Belize Institute of Management.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting
The project is a joint effort of the Ministry of Health, The United Nations Population Fund, and the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries Fund. Today, all concerned parties met to review the project?s mid-term report.

Jaime Nadal, Deputy Rep, U.N.F.P.A.
?It seeks to achieve essentially a review of the implementation of this programme, which we believe is a very important programme for Belize in terms of fighting the spread of HIV and AIDS. And it is essentially about reviewing what has been happening since the programme started its activities. The strengths, the weaknesses, as well as the opportunities that are emerging so we can achieve a larger impact of the programme.?

There are a wide range of activities that have been implemented. The work includes training sessions, educational and awareness campaigns. Today the implementing agencies, Youth for the Future, Belize Family Life Association, Alliance Against AIDS, and the Belize Red Cross, gave presentations on what they are doing to combat the disease. U.N.F.P.A. Deputy Representative, Jaime Nadal says Belize has done a lot in its fight against HIV and AIDS, yet he notes that there are certain areas that need to be strengthened.

Jaime Nadal
?Coordination is very important among the different partners who are involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The national capacity is also something that needs to be continuously strengthened. And training of human resources and retaining those human resources to serve the purposes of the countries is something that we also feel is important. So the strong component in this is training, training and equipping health personnel including social workers etcetera and giving them the tools and the skills so they can do a better delivery of their activities. Those are challenges that the project is addressing.?

A similar effort is being carried out in other Caribbean and Central American countries. The programme’s agreement was signed in 2003, but it was not until one year later that the project was implemented.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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