The Star (St. Lucia) - - REGIONAL -

In Au­gust of this year, Prime Min­is­ter Dr. the Hon­ourable Ti­mothy Har­ris an­nounced to the coun­try that St. Kitts and Nevis was on par to be­com­ing the first coun­try in the Or­ga­ni­za­tion of the East­ern Caribbean States (OECS), CARICOM, and the Amer­i­cas, out­side of Cuba, to bring an end to mother-to-child trans­mis­sion with re­spect to HIV.

That as­ser­tion has since been val­i­dated by the Pan Amer­i­can Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (PAHO) and the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO) in a com­mu­niqué ad­dressed to the Gov­ern­ment of St. Kitts and Nevis.

The WHO de­scribes mother-to-child trans­mis­sion of HIV as the spread of HIV from an HIV-in­fected woman to her child dur­ing preg­nancy, child­birth, or breast­feed­ing.

The PAHO/WHO com­mu­niqué stated that dur­ing a meet­ing of the Global Val­i­da­tion Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee (GVAC), St. Kitts and Nevis was val­i­dated as achiev­ing the elim­i­na­tion of mother-to-child trans­mis­sion of HIV and syphilis.

St. Kitts and Nevis be­came one of the first English-speak­ing coun­tries to be cer­ti­fied in this re­gard, with Cuba be­ing the first coun­try in the world to do so.

Prime Min­is­ter Har­ris, who is the lead spokesman in the CARICOM Quasi Cabi­net with re­spon­si­bil­ity for Hu­man Re­sources, Health and HIV/AIDS, de­scribed this “pos­i­tive news” as a sig­nif­i­cant and mo­men­tous achieve­ment for St. Kitts and Nevis, adding, “I feel a sense of per­sonal pride and sat­is­fac­tion that St. Kitts and Nevis is a leader in this as­pect.”

The St. Kitts and Nevis prime min­is­ter said while this val­i­da­tion is wel­comed by the gov­ern­ment and peo­ple of the Fed­er­a­tion, “It doesn’t mean that all is well or per­fect in our fight and bat­tle with re­spect to HIV and other health is­sues.”

In July of this year, Prime Min­is­ter Har­ris, ac­com­pa­nied by Min­is­ter of State with re­spon­si­bil­ity for Health, the Hon­ourable Se­na­tor Wendy Phipps, at­tended a fo­rum in New York City that was geared at pro­mot­ing part­ner­ship and sup­port for the “Ev­ery Caribbean Woman, Ev­ery Caribbean Child” ini­tia­tive, which seeks to re­duce teenage and ado­les­cent preg­nancy; cer­vi­cal can­cer; mother-tochild trans­mis­sion of HIV; and vi­o­lence against women and chil­dren, in­clud­ing hu­man traf­fick­ing.

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