The Caribbean – December 9, 2020 – The Caribbean region has managed to dramatically reduce HIV Aids cases and deaths in the past decade, according to the Caribbean Public Health Agency, CARPHA.
“The number of people dying of AIDS-related deaths have decreased from 11 thousand in 2010 to 6,900 in 2019. During that same period, the Region has also seen a reduction of new HIV cases down from an estimated 18.000 new cases to 13.000 per year,” said CARPHA on Monday in a statement issued regionally.
The Agency was also trying to determine the impact of Covid-19 on those living with HIV-AIDS, and a summary of 25 studies conducted exposed that: “…on COVID-19 patients (252) living with HIV, two-thirds (66.5%) had mild to moderate symptoms. Among patients who died, the majority (90.5%) were over 50 years old and had multimorbidity (64.3%).”
For the Executive Director of CARPHA the answer is indeed found in the 2020 World Aids Day theme: “Global solidarity, shared responsibility”.
“The need for a multisectoral response is even greater in COVID-19 times. We have to take innovative steps towards the global goals, so that our Region’s promise to end the HIV epidemic by 2030 can become a reality,” stated Dr. Joy St. John, CARPHA Executive Director.
Dr. St. John admonished Health Ministries of the region to continue the focus, treatment and awareness of HIV/AIDS despite and amidst the demanding nature of the current health crisis.
“The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the difficulties in ensuring access for persons living with HIV, vulnerable communities and those facing inequalities, to receiving healthcare. We need to ensure that the rights of persons living with HIV/AIDS are not violated, and also ensure the continued provision of HIV services for children, adolescents and key populations during COVID-19.”
CARPHA uses today, December 1 World Aids Day to recommit to supporting regional health ministries and departments to “end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.”
Barbados bestows Humanitarian Award on PAHO director Dr. Carissa Etienne
By Shanieka Smith
#Barbados, November 25, 2022 – The newest recipient of Barbados’ Humanitarian Award is outgoing Pan American Health Organization Director, Dr Carissa Etienne. The government of Barbados grants this award to frontline workers who were instrumental during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Upon receiving the award, Dr. Etienne expressed her gratitude for the recognition, noting, however, that she was more grateful for the opportunity to have served on the island. She also praised Prime Minister, Mia Mottley for her diligence in leading the country and regional involvement during the pandemic.
Humanitarian medals were also given to Frontline workers who risked their own safety to ensure the needs of the public were met. Those who held supporting roles on the frontline received humanitarian lapel pins, and those who made generous donations were given humanitarian plaques.
Dr. Etienne highlighted one major lesson from the pandemic, “we are only safe when the weakest among us is also safe”.
Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Immigration Ministers make appearance on TCI Radio Talk Show
By Dana Malcolm
#TheBahamas, November 25, 2022 – “We have a humanitarian concern of course but we can only absorb so much” was how Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service in The Bahamas addressed the issue of the UN constantly nudging Caribbean countries about the deportation of migrants and recommending that it not be done.
He was speaking Thursday November 24 with Cheryl and Zhavargo on First Edition which airs on RTC FM.
While acknowledging that the UN offices likely ‘have to do what they do’ Minister Mitchell explained that the current irregular migrants trying to get into the Bahamas did not fit the bill of ‘refugees’ as defined by the UN.
“We have a treaty obligation that says that if people have a fear of persecution in their home country that we have an obligation to take them in as asylum seekers. The people who come through on these boats from the south of us are not asylum seekers. They are afraid of poverty and that’s a difficult issue but in a legal sense we’re not obligated to embrace people on that basis.”
He cited a study that had found, on any given day there were around 7,000 illegal migrants in The Bahamas trying to get to the US maintaining that his chain of islands had to take a stand on the issue. The Foreign Affairs minister acknowledged that TCI was in an identical situation, citing also the the cultural effects of irregular migration.
“There is a cleavage which has developed in our own society over this; people are very concerned that we could lose our identity if we do not get on top of it.”
Earlier this year Arlington “new sheriff in town” Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services in the Turks and Caicos had described statements calling on surrounding countries to do more to assist persons fleeing Haiti as “reckless and misguided.”
“Haiti has a population of 11.6 million people. How could any small developing state like the Turks and Caicos Islands assist that number of people or even the smallest fraction of them? We have a population of some 47,000 persons, and our health care, education and other social systems remain fragile and could never withstand an influx of refugees. This would be a risk to our very own livelihood,” he had said.
He was interviewed in the same show on Thursday prior to Mitchell and expressed a similar determination to crack down on illegal migration.
“I want to stress this. If we catch anyone harbouring illegals, it could be my mommy, she’s going up. We cannot tolerate this. We’re catching the sloops so my Haitian brothers and sisters should stress to them don’t waste your money we’re sending you back.”
Turks and Caicos, this year passed a law, doubling fines and prison times for individuals harbouring illegal migrants.
JAMAICA: Government Revenues Soar
#Kingston, November 25, 2022 – There has been a jump in Government revenue collection, with tax revenues for the first six months of the fiscal year exceeding budget by $35 billion.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, said that the out-turn is as a result of higher-than-expected economic performance.
“The first quarter growth came out at 5.7 per cent… and all categories of revenue are over budget. Revenues from income and profits are up by nearly 13 per cent or $10 billion,” Dr. Clarke said.
In addition, he noted that revenues from production and consumption are up by seven per cent or $7 billion and revenues from international trade are up by 15 per cent or $18 billion. Revenues from motor-vehicle licences for the first six months of this year are 16 per cent higher than budgeted.
Dr. Clarke was speaking in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (November 22) where the First Supplementary Estimates for 2022/23 were approved.
The approval reflects a revised expenditure of $971 billion, from the previously approved budget of $912 billion for the financial year.
Minister Clarke said the First Supplementary Estimates come within the context of positive overperformance of the economy.
“As a result of this revenue overperformance… we are able to come to this Parliament six months after and put a Budget that proposes $60 billion in new expenditure,” Dr. Clarke said.
The largest component of the supplementary budget is the allocation for public-sector salaries and wages in keeping with the restructuring of compensation.
“We are allocating $16 billion there and there is another $2 billion to the Ministry of Health and Wellness and then about $3 billion for statutory deductions, making a total of $21 billion,” the Minister said.
Contact: Latonya Linton
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