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Guyana Drafting Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy

Caribbean News Desk | 10-27-2013

Guyana is crafting its Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy with assistance from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Chief Medical Officer Dr. Shamdeo Persaud announced on Sunday.

Addressing an event to mark the 40th anniversary of the Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association (GRPA) under the theme ‘Advancing Sexual & Reproductive Health & Rights for all Guyanese’, Persaud appealed to the public to participate in planned national consultations. Among those to be targeted are the homeless, youths, the disabled and coastal and hinterland residents.

“We would like that policy not to be a Ministry of Health policy but a Guyana policy where all parties are involved, all stakeholders,” he said at the event held at the Seawall Bandstand, Georgetown.

He said the strategy would take the country beyond 2015 by which time countries around the world are expected to record progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Persaud’s announcement was made moments after First Lady Deolatchmie Ramotar advised Guyanese to be realistic in dealing with pregnancies by un-married couples. “I, too, believe in marriage before sex, I also think that whatever one’s view of the ideal and striving for to achieve this, we must also be realistic. We must face reality and try to deal with it as best as we can,” she said.

The First Lady expressed concern about the lack of knowledge and continued refusal by parents and others to speak about sex has resulted in many deaths due to illegal abortions. “In the majority of cases, it is the poor and ill-informed who are affected the most.”

The Chief Medical Officer hailed the role that the GRPA has played since the first AIDS case was diagnosed here in 1986. He credited the organisation with significantly reducing the number of new infections.

“The GRPA stepped up to the challenge and partnered with the Ministry of Health and many other agencies and ensured that HIV was recognized as a threat to our country and to advocate for resources to put their efforts together with others to fight that disease,” he said.

Persaud noted that Guyana was on the verge of eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV by 2015.

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