Ramsammy told members of the media that he believes the Pope’s visit to Africa is a very significant one that has been long overdue. According to him, “the raising of topical issues such as climate change, the global financial crisis and the medical ailments among other areas which affect the developing countries of this continent by the Pope, who is a remarkable influential global figure, is of integral importance for Africa.”
However, he said, “the Pope is wrong when it comes to HIV and the use of condoms.” He added, “I think the Pope has contributed negatively to the fight against HIV…”
Ramsammy said HIV helps to contribute to the poverty in Africa and therefore the statement by such an influential figure reiterating that condoms do not work, “does not in any positive way help in the global fight against the epidemic.”
The minister insisted that the use of condoms have helped in the reduction of HIV via the education process and this has been backed by scientific experiments. “I am not just saying that condoms alone play the part in HIV reduction, but rather it has to be done through a comprehensive strategy; one that caters for educating the public about the epidemic, how help can be sought and the proper use of the contraceptive among other areas.
“But I must reiterate that condoms work, and as such, their availability should not be compromised.”
According to the minister, “since condoms play such a very significant and positive role in HIV reduction, the Pope’s view… seeks only to impede the work needed to be done on fighting HIV and AIDS. I think the Pope’s view on condom use was ill-advised, inappropriate and out of sync with scientific examinations.”
Meanwhile, with regard to the deaths of the two Sisters Village children, when asked whether a combination of senna pod and Lomatil is a deadly one, Ramsammy said, “I am not sure there is scientific study that says it is deadly. Such combinations have adverse effects and it is therefore advisable that they not be combined.”
He added also that children should be part of a clinic and advice should be sought from primary health care providers when it comes to administering medicine to them.
“Senna pods and Lomatil are both over the counter drugs, but from advice, it is not good to combine the two for cleaning out the body,” Ramsammy emphasised.
As it relates to the de-worming exercise currently being conducted by the Ministry of Health in Region Six, Ramsammy has made it known that significant achievements have been so far recorded as they have been able to reach out to 95% of the households there.
According to him, because of the cooperation received from NGOs, RDCs, churches and other key groups; 29,299 households were visited by volunteers. He noted that Region Two has been lined up as the next region to be visited, followed by Regions Three, Four and Ten; after which the Hinterland Regions of One, Seven, Eight and Nine will be visited. The entire de-worming exercise according to Ramsammy is expected to be completed by the end of July.