Vanuatu joined the world in commemorating the World AIDS Day on December 1, 2017.
The country has been commemorating the World AIDS Day since 2015, though the first case of HIV/AIDs in Vanuatu emerged in 2002.
Since 2015, the Vanuatu Government, through the Ministry of Health, stepped up various health awareness programs against the deadly disease, including specialized training, for local nurses who are now based in the two Municipalities in Port Vila, Luganville Santo and the six provinces, providing awareness, consultations and counseling to the population on HIV/Aids.
Since the World AIDs Day on December 1, 2017, the Ministry of Health launched a major awareness campaign throughout the main centres of the country, and into the rural population of Vanuatu.
“Usually with a number of national and regional events taking place at home and as well as the country approaching the end of year activities, the Ministry of Health steps up public awareness amongst the population to ensure everyone take protective measures, not only against HIV/AIDS but also other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI),” Mr Len Tarivonda, of the Public Health Sector and Lolyne Jeremiah told the Daily Post yesterday.
“We have ongoing program on HIV/AIDS and STI in six Provinces and the municipalities of the country by our specialized and well trained nursing staff in awareness, consultation and counseling.
“We work closely with other Advocacy Partners in delivering awareness programs to the population of Vanuatu,” they say.
Vanuatu now has the facilities and equipment to carry out test for HIV/AIDS in Port Vila, which enables results from tests quickly.
Previously, all tests had to be sent to overseas laboratories with prolonged time before results are made known.
“Since December 1, 2017, the Ministry of Health through the Division of Health dealing with the HIV/AIDS and STIs have stepped up campaigns and awareness against HIV/AIDS and STI so that the people of Vanuatu can be part of the protective program during this period, and of course continuing through the years ahead,” Dr. Len Tarivonda and Assistant Coordinator HIV AID and STI Lolyne Jeremiah, commented appeal.
They confirmed that Vanuatu has 12 cases of HIV/AIDS and 1,000 cases of Sexually Transmitted Infection over the past 15 years.
“Other countries in the region and beyond have much higher rates of confirmed HIV/AIDS and STIs compared to Vanuatu, but we want to do everything we can, with the support and help of our population to keep the figure down.
“Awareness and getting people to appreciate every protective means we have available to keep these disease out is our aim,” they commented.