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Jun 22, 2004

Cuba offers help to fight AIDS

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With a message of: “no jueges con tu suerte”, or don’t play with your luck, members of the National AIDS Commission are back in the country tonight with renewed energy following a week-long visit to Cuba. According to Chairperson of the Commission, Ambassador Dolores Balderamos Garcia, first hand inspection of sites like the National Centre for the Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Infections and HIV/AIDS and pharmaceutical laboratories for the production of anti-retroviral medications, offered an intriguing look at the Cuban response to the pandemic, which has earned the country one of the lowest infection rates in the western hemisphere. Ambassador Balderamos-Garcia told News 5 this afternoon that tangible benefits and different approaches for Belize will emerge from the visit.

Dolores Balderamos-Garcia, Chair, National AIDS Commission

?We have firm offers of assistance in terms of pharmaceuticals, anti-retroviral medications which we will have to explore, we can?t make any final decision on that yet. But secondly and probably more important, there is an Institute of Tropical Medicine and we have a firm offer of assistance for training of doctors in issues of HIV/AIDS. So I believe that, that could probably turn out to be one of the more important offers that?s being made, because even if we can get our doctors to go for one week, two weeks, or three or even a longer period of time in specific training in epidemiology and clinical management of HIV, I think that would be a huge plus for Belize.?

?They have something that they call the Carrito por la vida or the Carrito de la prevencion, which is a little car that goes around and it distributes HIV/AIDS prevention materials. The young people get involved so that there is intervention and awareness at all the levels of the community, the rural areas, the municipalities, in the city itself.?

?Miss Joy Ysaguirre of the National Library Service was saying that with the library mobile that the Ministry of Education has, perhaps we could piggy-back and put the HIV/AIDS prevention materials along with the library mobile. Even if we would not do a separate Carrito de la prevencion, we could try to bring the idea or the concept into our interventions for more HIV/AIDS prevention to reach the young people across the country.?

Joining Ambassador Garcia in Cuba were Dr. Kathleen Israel, PAHO/WHO country representative, and Dr. Pedro Arriaga, clinician of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. The trip was coordinated with the assistance of Cuban Ambassador to Belize, Regla Diaz Hernandez.

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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