Bahamas Red Cross Launches Massive HIV & AIDS Awareness Intervention in Abaco

Recently, The Bahamas Red Cross Humanitarian Delegation, led by Director-General, Caroline Turnquest made an official visit to the Island of Abaco for the official launch of its American Red Cross Sponsored HIV AIDS Project. Mr. John Darville, Project Coordinator leads this charge within the Bahamas Red Cross, and was pleased to advise of the many partnering agencies who affirmed their commitment to the cause for youth, by being present at the workshop.
The press conference was hosted by the Director-General (Turnquest), who began the session by stating, “Since our recognition as a National Society in 1977, the Bahamas Red Cross has been a leader in the Community, where Humanitarian efforts are concerned. The Red Cross Movement the world over is guided by seven (7) Fundamental Principals, namely: Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary Service, Unity and Universality. Under the banner of HUMANITY, we seek to alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found. For us, as a country with our high rates of HIV infection per capita in comparison to our neighboring nations, and indeed the world, there are high levels of HIV related human suffering”, she said.
On hand at the Press Conference was Member of Parliament for the North Abaco constituency, Mr. Renaldo Curry, who admonished Abaco youth to take full advantage of the workshop and other interventions, made available by the Bahamas Red Cross. He said that, “these are trying times, especially for young people, and it’s the awareness of the impact of HIV and AIDS that may be your saving grace”. He further expressed his gratefulness to the Bahamas Red Cross for selecting the island of Abaco among other islands for this intervention, and with the statement: “YOUTH OF ABACO, the grey intervention case is here, take advantage of it”, the Bahamas Red Cross, American Red Cross Funded Caribbean HIV AIDS Project Abaco Project was launched.
Also present was Mr. Preston Cunningham, Island Administrator, Nurse Maxine Brown, Ministry of Health’s Nurse in Charge for Abaco, Mr. Ishmael “stretch” Morley, Island Activities Coordinator with the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Mrs. Sandy Edwards, Education Officer with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Mrs. Barbara Johnson, Bahamas Red Cross Abaco Committee Chairperson, and Mr. Ricardo Ferguson, Principal of the Abaco Central High School.
Following the Launch, the CHAP team executed a two (2) day workshop for Abaco youth. There was a steady thirty-four (34) participants in attendance. Information about HIV AIDS, communication, STIs, stigma and discrimination, safe sex and abstinence was shared, among other very important related topics.
The Project is expected to target youth/young adults’ ages 16 – 29 years over a two (2) year period, reaching approximately 500 youth on that island. The intervention formats are two-day sensitization workshops and massive community sensitization fairs/exercises, social media and technology based awareness interventions and a media awareness campaign, among others. The project is also being executed in New Providence and the island of Eleuthera. While training has already been conducted in Eleuthera, a similar launch exercise will be conducted on that island in the near future. With only two exercises completed (Abaco and Eleuthera), the Bahamas Red Cross CHAP unit has already reached 11% of its expected target for the two year period. (source Bahamas Weekly)

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