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STIGMA AND DISCRIMINATION WORKSHOP

[Press Release] The Ministry of Health with the financial support of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is making a deliberate attempt at improving the mindsets, the approach and the services of Healthcare workers when dealing with key populations and by extension the public.

On Tuesday 16th October, a four day stigma and discrimination training workshop commenced at the Ministry of Health. Dr. Gail Gajadhar is the Ag. Senior Medical Officer for Infectious Diseases.

“We can encounter stigma or discrimination in many facets of our lives and in our work life as well. Stigma is all about attitudes and the feeling of someone or a group of people feeling that they are better than another, causing that person to feel like a small person. Discrimination is about an action and doing something to make a person feel like they are not worthy so the idea of the workshop is to sensitize healthcare workers. We have participants from St. Judes Hospital, from Victoria Hospital and from our Sexual and Reproductive Health Clinic and it’s to sensitize our workers to the fact, what could happen, how to deal with it when it occurs, how we may actually be causing stigma or decimating against another person, how they may feel, how we may unconsciously do it, how to avoid doing so and how to manage with persons who do so in the work environment.”

Meanwhile, workshop facilitator, Patricia Isaac-Joseph said, if the HIV and Tuberculosis pandemic is to be eradicated, then so must the societal barriers.

“One of the issues we recognize is that if people are not comfortable they don’t think they will be treated right or they don’t think their privacy or the confidentiality is going to be maintained they will not access the services. And we need persons who are living with HIV or TB to come in for their checks, to come in their treatment and to take their treatment as they should otherwise we may end up with problems of drug resistance or just their own health getting worst.”

Joseph said, during the training workshop emphasis will be placed on introspection in relation to self-awareness, attitudes, values and beliefs as these are factors affecting stigma and discrimination.

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