Guyanese Health Minister Ramsammy Discusses HIV/AIDS, Health Worker Shortages at World Health Assembly
Guyana's Health Minister Leslie Ramsammy recently examined issues surrounding HIV/AIDS and health worker shortages at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, the CMC/redOrbit reports.
HIV/AIDS continues to "defy our best efforts and our best technologies," Ramsammy said, adding that the global health community needs a "re-energized battle against HIV" and "must commend those countries that have responded courageously and have made a significant dent on the transmission of HIV."
According to Ramsammy, Guyana provides access to antiretroviral drugs to all people living with HIV/AIDS because the "benefits of earlier treatment overwhelm" the side effects of the drugs. He added that physicians in Guyana should increase their efforts to encourage people to be tested for HIV and that the country's public health community is "convinced" that abstinence-only HIV prevention programs "do not work."
At the assembly, Ramsammy also discussed the continued migration of health workers from lower- to higher-income countries despite earlier agreements to increase efforts to stop the practice. Ramsammy said it is necessary for the assembly to establish an "equitable solution" to the problem, adding that developing countries "must benefit from their investment in training [health workers] while not limiting freedom of movement."
In addition, Ramsammy said the accessibility and availability of vaccines should not contribute to the gap in health care between developed and developing countries. "Vaccines must be seen as a global good," Ramsammy said, adding that WHO should advocate for increased vaccine productivity to meet demands worldwide (CMC/redOrbit, 5/21).