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Wednesday, April 26, 2006 

Brazil to provide AIDS drugs for eastern Caribbean

Wednesday, April 26th 2006

The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) will benefit from a supply of anti-retroviral drugs provided by Brazil, over the next five years, a Caricom Secretariat press release said.

Public Relations Officer at the Caricom Secretariat, Calvin Brown, told Stabroek News yesterday that the prices for the drugs were still to be set. But he said they would be lower than the current market prices.

Brown said the anti-retrovirals were being provided under a special arrangement and being funded by the Brazil government.

In Guyana, the New Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation supplies HIV medication for the local health system. It had been hoping to be able to export HIV drugs to Caricom countries.
According to the press release, Prime Minister Denzil Douglas, Caricom lead Prime Minister with responsibility for Human Resources, Health and HIV/AIDS will sign a Letter of Intent with Brazil's Third Secretary of the Foreign Ministry, Gabriela Resendes tomorrow for the supply of the anti-retroviral drugs.

The signing of the Letter of Intent follows a high-level PANCAP mission to Brazil in April 2005, which was led by Prime Minister Douglas. The press release said that among the issues earmarked for discussion at the upcoming meeting of the Caricom Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) tomorrow and Friday in St Kitts and Nevis, are domestic regulations governing the free movement of health professionals in the region and the migration of nurses. The state of mental health in the region, the community's progress in reducing the demand for drugs and the setting up of affordable drop-in centres for drug addicts and the homeless are also expected to engage the meeting.

Regional health and social security officials are also gearing to focus on a plan of action aimed at integrating the region's approach to preventing and controlling chronic diseases. This is in addition to examining the economic impact of diseases such as diabetes and hypertension in the Caribbean and making arrangements for a regional Health Insurance scheme.

The release said COHSOD would receive an update on the status of implementation and developments in the regional strategic response to HIV/AIDS.

The council will also receive several reports including one from the meeting of Chief Medical Officers yesterday, a status report on Health and Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2007, and proposals for establishing the Caribbean Health Initiative to improve health care delivery in the region.
Newly appointed Minister of Health and Social Security of the Bahamas, Senator Bernard Nottage will chair the meeting.

Outgoing Chair of COHSOD, St Kitts and Nevis Minister of Health Rupert Herbert, and Director of the Pan American Health Organisation, Dr Mirta Roses are to deliver remarks at the meeting.

© Stabroek News

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