Statements and Webcast
H.E. Mr. Celcuis Waterberg, Minister of Public Health
9 June 2011
- Statement: English (Check against delivery)
CELSIUS W. WATERBERG, Minister for Public Health of Suriname, said his country had made important strides in many areas related to HIV and AIDS. After steady increases through 2006, the number of newly registered HIV infections had begun to decline in 2007. Moreover, Suriname was one of the few Caribbean countries where the incidence of infection had decreased by more than 25 per cent. Mortality rates had also dropped by 10 per cent since 2006, he said, describing those advances as the result of implementing the National Strategic Plan on HIV. Its strategies included strengthened coordination and leadership through the creation of a national multisectoral HIV council; the establishment of additional structures such as the Centre of Excellence in HIV treatment and care; and the introduction of the “combined prevention tool”, which had proved effective in the HIV response.
Suriname was also the only Caribbean country to implement successful pilot projects to mobilize men for circumcision as an additional preventive measure, he said. It was working to integrate HIV and AIDS services into regular health programmes, while also involving people living with HIV in care and support programmes. Turning to the challenges still facing his country, he cited harmful traditions and customs, misconceptions and adverse beliefs, language barriers in a multilingual society and the vulnerability of small communities due to HIV-related stigma, gender inequalities and poverty. While appreciating the financial and technical support it had received thus far from the Global Fund and other donors, Suriname needed continued international support, he emphasized, noting that in order to move towards the goal of universal access to comprehensive HIV prevention programmes, treatment, care and support, resources and political will must be mobilized on the national, regional and global levels.