NAPS honours staff, partners in HIV/AIDS fight

The National AIDS Pro-gramme Secretariat (NAPS) on Tuesday hosted its annual appreciation activity for its staff and partners who performed exceptionally well in helping it to fight HIV/AIDS, create awareness about the disease and eradicate discrimination.

The Government Informa-tion Agency (GINA) said the Ministry of Home Affairs was awarded with a plaque for being the most outstanding non-health ministry working to mitigate the spread of HIV/AIDS in Guyana. The ministry was commended for its consistent efforts in educating its workers, prisoners and prison officials, its efforts to completely eliminate discrimination as well as its advocacy of safe sex practices within the prisons.

Laudable leadership: Dr. Shanti Singh, Head of NAPS accepts her award for outstanding work in the health sector, particularly in the area of HIV/AIDS. In this photo Dr. Singh accepts the award from Health Minister, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy. (Jules Gibson photo)

The National Milling Company (Namilco) was judged the most outstanding private sector supporter of the NAPS food bank. Namilco was also commended for its work in engaging young people in meaningful exercises, its commitment to community work and its consistent contribution of food hampers to the Ministry of Health for distribution to persons living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

GINA said too Dr Abdel Abdalla was judged by his colleagues to be the most outstanding worker within the Secretariat. He was commended for his dedication to his work in the hinterland and other outlying areas of the country. He was among four NAPS workers recognised for their commitment to the fight against the disease. The other three were Leona Da Costa, for her exceptional work in the area of Tuberculosis/   HIV co-infection on the       TB Control programme; Shameeza Mangal, for being the most outstanding worker of the year within the Blood Bank; and Edward Hackett for most outstanding worker in the area of adolescent health.

A group of specially invited adolescents presented Minister of Health Dr Leslie Ramsammy with an award for “his visionary and outstanding leadership” since he assumed office in 2001. Dr Ramsammy was commended for his continued and persistent fight in the health sector, particularly in his fight to eradicate HIV/AIDS in Guyana. In addition, Dr Shanti Singh, Head of NAPS, was surprised with an award for her outstanding work within the health sector; especially for the dedication she has consistently displayed in the local HIV/AIDS response.

In brief remarks Dr Singh said that in 2010 the prevention of HIV/AIDS programme progressed significantly with the development of the prevention principles standards and guidelines. She noted that a continued component of the Secretariat was ensuring that every Guyanese knows their HIV status, adding that at the end of September 2010 more than 80,000 tests were conducted through the Voluntary Counselling and Testing programme.  This is in addition to the more than 30,000 persons who were tested during the recently concluded National Week of Testing.

Dr Singh also said that her agency continued to ensure that all measures were in place to avert infections in newborn babies. She noted that at the end of September, the treatment programme recorded a total of 4,236 active patients of which 70.2% are on anti-retroviral therapy and since the inception of the food bank in 2007, a total of 11,580 hampers were distributed to 3,792 patients. The ministry and NAPS continues to promote its mandate of zero infection rate, HIV/AIDS-related deaths and discrimination.

The ceremony was hosted at the Secretariat’s Hadfield Street headquarters.

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