Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller says stigma and discrimination towards persons living with HIV and AIDS remains a major concern in Jamaica. In an address delivered this morning on her behalf by Minister of Health, Dr. Fenton Ferguson, at the UNAIDS and Lancet Commission meeting, Mrs. Simpson Miller said Jamaica’s culture and history pose ongoing challenges around equity and justice that must be overcome.
“We must ensure that all persons in need have access to Treatment, Care and Support without fear of victimization. I am happy to note that great strides have been made globally since the signing of the Political Declaration, with partnerships and alliances that we could not have imagined a few years ago.”
She said health must be viewed as a national asset and systems must be put in place to ensure that our populations benefit from increased efficiency and greater accessibility to health care. “In Jamaica, we recognize that if we are to move forward as a country towards development, we have to tackle matters that prevent us from achieving improvements in the health of the population,” Mrs. Simpson Miller pointed out.
She added that health for all and justice in health must be the basis of our actions. “In Jamaica, we continue to enjoy strong bi-partisan support for our 2011 “Declaration of Commitment to End Stigma, Discrimination and Gender Inequality affecting Jamaica’s HIV/AIDS Response”. We have strengthened our collaboration with Faith-Based Organizations, as we all recognize that we have to embrace and assist our brothers and sisters even more in times of struggle.”
Dr. Ferguson is representing the Prime Minister at the UNAIDS and Lancet Commission: Defeating AIDS – Advancing global health meeting being held from February 13-14, 2014 in London. The meeting is focusing on the future of AIDS and global health in the post-2015 era.
‘The Commission was established in early 2013 and bring together more than 40 Heads of State and political leaders, HIV and health experts, young people, activists, scientists and private sector representatives to ensure that lessons learned in the AIDS response can be applied to transform how countries and partners approach health and development.’
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