MICRONESIA
 

STATEMENT

BY

THE HONORABLE DR ELIUEL K. PRETRICK
MINISTER OF HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES

GOVERNMENT OF THE FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA

AT THE

26TH SPECIAL SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON HIV/AIDS

25 - 27 JUNE 2001 NEW YORK


 

 
MR PRESIDENT, MR SECRETARY GENERAL, DISTINGUISHED
DELEGATES, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

IT IS, INDEED, AN HONOR AND PRIVILEGE FOR ME TO STANDBEFORE THIS AUGUST GATHERING ON BEHALF OF MY GOVERNMENT TO ADDRESS AN ISSUE OF GRAVE CONCERN TO MY COUNTRY, A COUNTRY WITH A SMALL AND FRAGILE POPULATION. BEING A SMALL COUNTRY WITH A SMALLPOPULATION, I CANNOT OVEREMPHASIZE THE NEGATIVE IMPACT A SPREAD OF HIV/AIDS WILL CAUSE TO MY COUNTRY. ANY DAMAGES CAUSE BY THIS HAVOC OF HIV/AIDS WILL BE FELT FOR A LONG TIME. MY GOVERNMENT, THEREFORE, APPRECIATES VERY MUCH THE CONVENING OF THIS SPECIAL SESSION SO THAT TOGETHER, THE UNITED NATIONS, IN COLLABORATION WITH OTHER REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS, CAN WORK TOGETHER IN DEVELOPING APPROPRIATE MECHANIZMS TO COMBAT AND TO PREVENT THE CONTINUING SPREAD OF THE HIV/AIDS VIRUS.
 

MR PRESIDENT

THE FIRST CASE OF HIV/AIDS INFECTION WAS CONFIRMED IN FSM THE IN 1989. THIS WAS A CASE WHERE THE VICTIM WAS INFECTED WHILE LIVING OUTSIDE OF THE FSM. HOWEVER, AS RECENTLY AS A FEW MONTHS AGO, AND TO THE DISMAY OF MY GOVERNMENT, A FIRST NEW CASE OF LOCALLY ACQUIRED HIV/AIDS INFECTION WAS DISCOVERED ON ONE OF THE VERY REMOTE ATOLLS IN ONE OF THE STATES IN THE FSM. THIS UNWELCOMED DISCOVERY HAS CAUSED GREAT ALARM AND THERE IS GRAVE CONCERNS THAT THIS VIRUS MAY HAVE SPREAD MUCH WIDER THAN IT WAS ANTICIPATED. THIS NEW INFORMATION, MR PRESIDENT, MAY SEEM PALE AND LESS SIGNIFICANT BY COMPARASION WITH THOSE MORE SERIOUSLY AFFECTED AREAS IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD. NEVERTHELESS, THE MERE PRESENCE OF HIV/AIDS IN MY COUNTRY IS A MATTER OF GRAVE CONCERN WHICH, IN THE VIEW OF MY GOVERNMENT, MUST BE TAKEN VERY SERIOUSLY AND ONE, WHICH SHOULD BE DEALT WITH IN THE MOST DECISIVE WAY TO PREVENT ANY POSSIBILITY OF THE SITUATION GETTING ANY WORSE.
 

MR PRESIDENT

ONE OF THE MORE SENSTIVE ISSUES ANYTIME WHEN HIV/AIDS IS DISCUSSED CENTERS AROUND THE QUESTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS. OUR DISCUSSIONS AT THIS FORUM WILL UNDOUBTEDLY IMPINGE UPON ONE'S CULTURAL AND RELIGIOUS BELIEFS AND, PERHAPS, IT WILL EVEN NECESSARILY HAVE TO IMPINGE ON ONE'S PERSONAL LIFE STYLES. THIS, HOWEVER, IS A DISEASE THAT KNOWS NO BOUNDS AND ITS INDISCRIMINATE REACHES KNOWS NO LIMITS. WE HOPE THEREFORE THAT SOME FLEXIBILITY CAN BE EXERCISED SO THAT WE CAN SUCCESSFULLY TACKLE THE ISSUES OF HIV/AIDS HEAD ON.

PREVENTION, MR PRESIDENT, IS ANOTHER IMPORTAN ASPECT IN DEALING WITH THE HIV/AIDS. PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES MUST BE CONSIDERED IN ADVANCE OF ANY POTENTIAL SPREAD OF THE VIRUS. THIS IS NOT TO SUGGEST THAT THE UN SHOULD CHANGE ITS FOCUS OF ATTENTION FROM ITS CURRENT COURSE OF ACTION. ON THE CONTRARY, MY GOVERNMENT BELIEVES THAT ALL ASPECTS OF DEALING WITH THIS DEADLY AND INDISCRIMINATE DISEASE MUST BE DEALT WITH IN ITS ENTIRETY. THE UNITED NATIONS AND ITS SPECIALIZED AGENCIES, INCLUDING OTHER REGIONAL AND INTERNATINAL ORGANIZATIONS SHOULD CONTINUE TO ASSIST COUNTRIES WHICH ARE SERIOUSLY AFECTED AND, AT THE SAME TIME, BE VERY ACTIVE IN REACHING OUT TO ASSIST THOSE WHICH HAVE NOT YET BEEN SO SERIOUSLY AFFECTED. BY DOING SO, THE UNITED NATIONS WILL BE SUCCESSFULLY PREVENTING THE SPREAD OF THE HIV/AIDS VIRUS FROM BECOMING A TRULY GLOBAL PROBLEM.
 

MR PRESIDENT

IT IS OBVIOUS THAT, ALONE, ONE STATE CANNOT TAKE ON THE RESPOISIBILITY OF COMBATTING THIS DISEASE BY ITSELF. IN SAYING THIS, I AM PLEASED TO NOTE THAT WITH ASSISTANCE FROM THE U.S. GOVERNMENT, MY GOVERNMENT, IN COLLABORATION WITH THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO), HAS DEVELOPED SOME SHORT AND MEDIUM TERM PREVENTIVE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS TO DEAL WITH THIS MATTER IN THE FOUR STATES COMPRISING THE FSM. A COMPREHENSIVE HIV/AIDS MONITORING SYSTEM AND A COMMUNITY AIDS COUNCIL IS NOW ESTABLISHED IN THE FOUR STATES TO EDUCATE THE GENERAL PUBLIC ABOUT HIV/AIDS.

ADDITIONALLY, WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO SECURE SOME ASSISTANCE FROM SOME DONOR PARTNERS, WHICH ENABLED MY GOVERNMENT TO ESTABLISH AND PROVIDE SOMEBASIC PREVENTIVE MEASURES TO HIGH RISK INDIVIDUALS. WHILE MY GOVERNMENT SINCERELY APPRECIATES THESE I MUST INDICATE HERE THAT MORE ASSISTANCE ARE STILL NECESSARY FOR US TO BE MORE SUCCESFUL IN COMBATTINGAGAINST HIV/AIDS.

AGAIN, MR PRESIDENT, MY COUNTRY IS SMALL AND IS NOT ENDOWED WITH MANY RESOURCES. ON ITS OWN, THEREFORE, IT CANNOT EFFECTIVELY CONTINUE SOME OF THESE PROGRAMS. AS IT IS, WE ARE EXPERIENCING DIFFICULTIES IN OUR EFFORTS TO COMBAT OTHER HIGH MORTALITY DISEASES SUCH AS TUBERCULOSIS AND DIABETES. THEREFORE YOU CAN IMAGINE WHAT IT WILL BE LIKE COMBATTING A FULL BLOWN EPIDEMIC OF HIV/AIDS IN A STATE WITH A SMALL POPULATION LIKE THE FSM. HAVING SAID THIS, MY GOVERNMENT EXPRESSES VERY SINCERE APPRECIATIONS TO THOSE GOVERNMENTS, WHICH HAVE ALREADY MADE COMMITMENTS TO PROVIDE FINANCIAL RESOURCES TO THE TRUST FUND TO COMBAT THE HIV/AIDS AND ENCOURAGE THOSE THAT HAVE NOT YET DONE SO TO PLEASE FOLLOW SUIT BY DOING THE SAME AS SOON AS POSSIBLE SO THAT EFFECTIVE FIGHTS AGAINST THE CONTINUING SPREAD OF THE HIV/AIDS VIRUS CAN BE REASSURED.

IN CONCLUSION, MR PRESIDENT, MY COUNTRY TAKES THIS FORUM VERY SERIOUSLY. WE KNOW THAT WITHOUT THE PARTNERSHIP AND COLLABORATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS AND IT'S SEPCIALIZED AGENCIES, INCLUDING OTHER REGIONAL AND INTERNATINAL ORGANIZATIONS, WE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO STOP THE THREATS AND THE SPREAD OF THE VIRUS. FURTHERMORE, WE HOPE THAT ANY DECISIONS MADE AT THE END OF THIS FORUM WILL ASSIST ALL ONGOING EFFORTS TO CONTAIN FURTHER SPREAD OF THIS DISEASE.

WHILE HIV/AIDS IS A GLOBAL CONCERN, THEIR IMPLICATIONS ARE NATIONAL. THEREFORE, IT IS CRITICAL THAT AGREEMENTS REACHED AT THE END OF THIS IMPORTANT FORUM ARE WITHIN A COUNTRY'S MEANS IN ORDER TO BE EFFECTIVELY IMPLEMENTED.
 

THANK YOU