St Kitts-Nevis to become first in OECS and CARICOM to eliminate mother to child HIV transmission

BASSETERRE, St Kitts (SKNIS) — St Kitts and Nevis is expected to become the first country in the Organization of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Americas, outside of Cuba, to bring an end to mother to child transmission of HIV, as indicated by health officials from across the region.

The statement was made during the monthly press conference on Wednesday by Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris, who recently attended a forum in New York geared at promoting partnership for expanding healthcare to every Caribbean woman, every Caribbean child. Harris attended the forum in his capacity as lead head in the Quasi CARICOM Cabinet with responsibility for human resource development, health and HIV.

“This is a most significant achievement and while some work and tests are still being finalized, the fact that this information was shared publicly in a setting like that speaks to the confidence which the authorities have with respect to this development in St Kitts and Nevis,” Harris said. “So we are taking leadership. It doesn’t mean that all is well or perfect in our fight and battle with respect to HIV and other health issues, but it means that on this particular indicator we are top of the class and we hope that this preliminary finding will in fact come to fruition very shortly and so this acclaim, noteworthy as it is, could be another important one for the people of St Kitts and Nevis to enjoy.”

Harris, who was accompanied by minister of state with responsibility for health, Senator Wendy Phipps, said that they met with a number of donor agencies including the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative officials “to see how we could procure further assistance and support for the CARICOM region as a whole to advance the development of healthcare”.

“We had very useful discussions with President Clinton, not only on matters of health but issues of global interest, including the security situation in the region and how he can utilize his considerable clout as a popular 42nd President of the USA to assist the Caribbean, particularly, in the context that 95 percent of all guns and ammunition located in illegal activities are attributed to production in the USA,” he said, adding that the matter of safety and security is one which President Clinton has agreed to “undertake to give study and support”.

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