Retired Chairman of the National HIV/AIDS Commission, Dr. Carol Jacobs, sharing a light momemt with??Senior Medical Officer (Communicable Diseases) Dr. Anton Best and Clinical Director of the Ladymeade Reference Unit, Dr. Nicholas Adomakoh. Image: C. Pitt)

Retired Chairman of the National HIV/AIDS Commission, Dr. Carol Jacobs, has been saluted for her outstanding work with that organisation.

At a retirement function held in her honour last Friday night at Wispers on the Bay, Minister of Family, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, said she had commanded the respect of people across the world, and stressed that Barbadians were proud of her contribution to the HIV and AIDS fight.

"You know what Dr. Jacobs has given to our National AIDS Programme, and therefore, having received so much, we must make her expectations a reality by maintaining the vigour and the relevance of this HIV and AIDS response. … She has served and done so with distinction," Dr. Byer Suckoo told her audience.

Dr. Jacobs was at the helm of the Commission from 2001 until last November. She is continuing her journey in HIV awareness at the regional level, as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership on HIV.

The Minister noted that the former chairman’s connection with the AIDS programme began with a term on the AIDS Task Force of the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners in 1987 and continued within the non-governmental organisations and government sectors.

According to her, Dr. Jacobs’ involvement in the HIV and AIDS response had been extensive, with her assuming several roles, including Chairman of the National Advisory Committee on AIDS from 1995 to 1998. She also represented Barbados and the Caribbean on the board of the World Health Organization’s Global Program on AIDS, and later, on the UNAIDS’ program coordinating board.

Dr. Jacobs has won numerous awards over the years, including the 2005 UNAIDS Gold Medal, the 2004 National Volunteer Award, and the 2002 Kiwani’s Citizen of the Year Award.

During a tribute to Dr. Jacobs, new Chairman of the Commission, Dr. Henrick Ellis, described his colleague as being very dedicated. "Carol’s heart is in the HIV fight and she will not retire. When progress is not being made, she is not very comfortable because … she would like to see us move from one stage to the next and continue to make progress.

"The work that Carol established will continue. There may be other areas we will move into, things that worked and are working well we will continue and there will probably be some new areas we will move into," Dr. Ellis said.

In her welcome address, Director of the Commission, Jacqueline Wiltshire Gay, stated that as stakeholders lamented the volume of work that still had to be done, they could still point to successes, including how far they had reached in response to the disease, since its appearance in Barbados in the 1980s.

"From this time until now, Dr. Jacobs has been working assiduously and tirelessly to save lives, safeguard dignity and to empower. This underlying motivation fired her passion for the multi-sectoral approach which Barbados has adopted," Mrs. Wiltshire Gay observed.

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