MINISTRY HELPING CHILDREN COPE WITH THE LOSS OF A PARENT TO HIV/AIDS

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Minister of Social Care, Christopher Sinckler (centre) listens attentively to a presentation at the Fifth Annual Conference of the National Assistance Board’s Bereavement Support Services. Also pictured from left are Head of the AID Section of the Canadian High Commission, Douglas Williams,  and Co-Director of AIDS-Free World, Stephen Lewis.

The Ministry of Social Care is playing its part in assisting children who have lost a parent to HIV/AIDS.

This was revealed today by Minister of Social Care, Christopher Sinckler, who was speaking at the Fifth Annual Conference of the National Assistance Board’s Bereavement Support Services, entitled “Special Issues and Loss: HIV/AIDS and the Loss of A Significant Parent”.

Stating that the counselling for these children was provided by the Child Care Board, Minister Sinckler said that his Ministry supported them in other ways.

“My Ministry, through the Welfare Department, supports these children financially and otherwise. For example, at October 2008, assistance was being given to 72 children- 33 girls and 39 boys,” he disclosed.

He added that this was against the background of a robust HIV/AIDS programme developed through the years by the agencies of the Ministry both in the prevention and control of the disease and in the care and support of those infected or affected by it.

Minister Sinckler pointed out that his Ministry also offered support to persons affected or infected with HIV/AIDS. He said this assistance came through cash transfers, food vouchers, the payment of house or land rent, and the provision of clothing, furnishings, refrigerators, assistive devices, uniforms and text books.

He noted that the cost of this undertaking ranged from $225,000 to $300,000 per quarter.  At present, he stated, there were 226 persons in receipt of this kind of care and support – 130 females and 96 males. 

In addition, support is given through individual counselling, educating clients about safe sex practices, health issues, and the importance of medication compliance and the keeping of medical appointments. 

Minister Sinckler also pledged his Ministry’s commitment to playing its part in the fight to combat HIV/AIDS and to pay special attention to the various groups affected, such as children. 

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