Dominica Begins Work on National Plan To Improve Response to HIV/AIDS
Health officials and stakeholders in Dominica met Monday to begin work on developing an improved national strategic plan against HIV/AIDS for 2008 through 2013, the Dominica News reports. According to the News, the plan aims to serve as a guide to strengthen the island's health care systems and integrate HIV/AIDS awareness into its primary health care system.
Health Ministry Chief Medical Officer David Johnson said the meeting on Monday was "just part of the process of developing the plan. ... In order for us to get a better understanding of what are the things that's driving the epidemic of HIV/AIDS, we need to have facts; we need to develop our programs; we need to identify the resources that are necessary to improve a response; we need to develop what are the correct activities and strategies to address HIV/AIDS. ... From where I sit from the Ministry of Health, it is something that's going to assist us (and) improve Dominica." He added that the national plan will provide the country with the tools and "the foresight in terms of what are the things we really need to do to address the epidemic in Dominica."
According to the News, the Dominica Red Cross, Dominica Planned Parenthood Association, Dominica Evangelical Association, Christian Council, Dominica Association of Disabled People, National Council of Women, nongovernmental organizations, medical practitioners and HIV/AIDS support groups were represented at the consultation (Baptiste, Dominica News, 10/14).