Jan. 18, 2007 — Ministers of Health from across the Caribbean, along with the United Nations Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean, will converge on St. Croix's Buccaneer Hotel this Saturday through Monday for a summit discussion on HIV/AIDS.
The meeting will be hosted by the Inter-American Economic Council, a Washington-based nongovernmental association that focuses on issues in the Caribbean Basin and Latin America.
Delegate Donna M. Christensen, who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus's Health Braintrust and is a member of the Friends of the Caribbean Caucus in the Congress, invited the council to meet on St. Croix to discuss bringing affordable HIV/AIDS treatments to the Caribbean and to assess the economic consequences of the disease for the region.
"HIV/AIDS affects not only the patients suffering from the disease, but has a ripple effect on families, businesses, and communities," said Christensen. "I am pleased that this year's meeting will be held on St. Croix, giving some of our local care providers and agency heads the opportunity to interact with the regional and international leaders as we come together as a region to find answers to some of the troubling problems that have been created by HIV/AIDS."
According to Barry Featherman, the council's president and CEO, the summit will be a proactive program practically focused to develop new innovative strategies by bringing together leading thinkers, practitioners and experts in the field from government, business and the wider community. "It will also educate policymakers about work that is already being done in the region and work that needs to be done," he said.
Expected participants include George Alleyne, U.N. Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean and director emeritus of the Pan American Health Organization. Alleyne will be the keynote speaker during Sunday's opening session. The luncheon session will be keynoted by Ambassador Albert Ramdin, assistant secretary general of the Organization of American States.
The program will be broken down into four key sessions:
— The Economic Impact of HIV/AIDS on the Regional Economies of the Caribbean;
— Private Sector and Intergovernmental Intervention;
— Best Practices — A review of the latest developments in the fight against HIV/AIDS; and
— Advocacy, Policy Development and Legislation.
Other speakers of note include:
— Chief Minister of the British Virgin Islands, Dr. Orlando Smith;
— U.S. Representatives Donald Payne and Yvette Clarke;
— John Maginley, Antigua and Barbuda Minister of Health;
— Dr. Jerome Walcott, Barbados Minister of Health;
— John Fabien, Dominica Minister of Health;
— Ann David-Antoine, Grenada Minister of Health;
— Dr. Robert Auguste, Haiti Minister of Health;
— Edward Greene, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Assistant Secretary General;
— Karen Turner, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Regional Director;
— Dr. Karl Theodore, head of the Department of Economics and Health Economics at the University of the West Indies;
— Dr. Izben Williams, ambassador of St. Kitts/Nevis;
— Dr. Winston C. Parris, M.D., chief of the Division of Pain Programs, Duke University; — Rita Arauz Molina, president of the Fundacion Nimehuatzin; and
— Ambassador Christopher Thomas, Inter-American Economic Council Chairman.
Space for the conference is limited. Interested persons should contact the council at (202) 548-0400 or go online.
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