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ECADE agrees; #HIVNotRetro.

Castries:---HIV and AIDS outreach and advocacy forms the base upon which many organizations representing the concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in the Caribbean has been formed, and continues to be a major pillar of their work. Although the issue of human rights has become more visible for many of the organizations comprising the Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality (ECADE), we use the occasion of World AIDS Day 2016 to reconfirm our commitment to working on HIV/AIDS in the region.

The member organizations of ECADE are rallying around the theme “HIV stigma: not retro, just wrong” this World AIDS Day, as we continue to focus on getting to zero by achieving the 90-90-90 target for HIV treatment and care. Organizations have for several weeks engaged in work promoting safer and accountable sexual practices in the eastern Caribbean as part of annual outreach efforts. We have also sought to highlight the need to show compassion and understanding and reduce stigma and discrimination as integral to lowering the number of new HIV cases and improving the quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS.

Alliance members have extended our work to social media with the hashtag #HIVNotRetro. We urge the community to add your voice by using this hashtag, to bring a local and Caribbean context to the global conversation.

While many of our countries have reduced the resources invested in HIV/AIDS prevention and care, we take this opportunity to remind that HIV must remain a concern for our small-island states. According to an AIDS Impact Model, there were an estimated 4,022 cases of people living with HIV in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines (OECS RCM). While evidence indicates that HIV incidence and AIDS deaths have stabilized in the last decade in the OECS and medical innovations such as Pre-Ex-
exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) provide hope, we continue to aim for a reduction in those statistics as our countries cannot afford the economic, social, and psychological cost of HIV/AIDS.

As we continue to encourage vigilance against stigma to improve the life-expectancy of people diagnosed with HIV and reduce the number of new case, we recognize the importance of the support of state systems, particularly the health authorities; civil society; faith-based organizations and community groups in reaching out with the message.


Island wide Blackout on Dutch St. Maarten (UPDATED)

powerplant02122016PHILIPSBURG:--- As of 5pm on Friday afternoon residents on Dutch St. Maarten have been experiencing power outages at various locations. However, about an hour ago all generators at the Cape Bay power plant shut down causing a total blackout.
Chief Financial Officer Iris Arrindell said in an invited comment that GEBE mechanics are working on getting engine 19 back online in order for the St. Maarten Medical Center to have power since they are in need of urgent electricity. Arrindell said after that the company will put the other generators online, one by one in order to secure them. She said the cause of the total power outage will be released later.

GEBE stated in a press release that the Production Plant in Cay Bay experienced an unexpected fault on one of its generators at 4:48pm which subsequently lead to an overload on the remaining generators resulting in a total black out. Electricity was restored to the majority of consumers by 8:30pm. GEBE apologizes to its customers with this unexpected interruption.

GEBE is stating that “we will commence with the commissioning of Generator / Engine #20 this Sunday, December 4, 2016, from 4am to 7am, which will require a certain software update to the automated system. This may result in possible loss of power in certain areas during the aforementioned hours.”

GEBE Press Release.

CPS: International Day of Persons with Disabilities – Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want.

GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- The theme for International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) to be observed internationally on Saturday, 3 December is: “Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want.”
This theme notes the recent adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the role of these goals in building a more inclusive and equitable world for persons with disabilities.
This year’s objectives include assessing the current status of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and SDGs and laying the foundation for a future of greater inclusion for persons with disabilities.
The observance of the 2016 IDPD coincides with the 10-year anniversary of the adoption of the CRPD – one of the most quickly and widely ratified international treaties put forth by the United Nations to date.
Today, the world population is over seven billion people. More than one billion people, or approximately 15 per cent of the world's population, live with some form of disability. 80 per cent live in developing countries.

A disability is a condition or function judged to be significantly impaired relative to the usual standard of an individual of their group.

The term is often used to refer to individual functioning, including physical impairment, sensory impairment, cognitive impairment, intellectual impairment, mental illness, and various types of chronic disease. This usage has been described by some disabled people as being associated with a medical model of disability.

The Collective Preventive Services (CPS), a government department under the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, calls on the Sint Maarten community to ensure that persons with disabilities have access to all aspects of society, on an equal basis with others, as well as to identify and eliminate obstacles and barriers to accessibility.
People with disabilities are at much higher risk of violence: Children with disabilities are almost four times more likely to experience violence than non-disabled children; Adults with some form or disability are 1.5 times more likely to be a victim of violence than those without a disability; and adults with mental health conditions are at nearly four times the risk of experiencing violence.
Factors which place people with disabilities at higher risk of violence include stigma, discrimination, and ignorance about disability, as well as a lack of social support for those who care for them.

The aforementioned information is being shared as part of CPSs annual calendar of public health observances with the objective of increasing awareness, education in order for the community to have a greater understanding of persons living with a disability.

CPS joins public health agencies and private sector organizations around the globe in working together to remove barriers of inclusion for persons with disabilities in order for them to be empowered to participate fully in societal life, and being able to make contributions to their entire community.

Accessibility and inclusion of persons with disabilities are fundamental rights recognized by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and are not only objectives, but also pre-requisites for the enjoyment of other rights.

The Convention (Article 9, accessibility) seeks to enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life and development.

Since 1992, the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) has been celebrated annually on 3 December around the world.

For information you can call CPS 542-2078 or 542-3003.

Help Beat ZikV Neighbourhood Campaign Evaluated and to Continue.

GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- The National Mosquito Elimination Community Program Zika Virus disease (ZikV) “Beat ZikV,” started out as a pilot project. After an evaluation, the campaign will continue. The data collected is being analyzed to determine which districts will be next in line.

Mosquitoes are one of the deadliest animals in the world. Their ability to carry and spread the disease to humans causes millions of deaths every year.

Collective Prevention Services (CPS) within the Ministry of Public Health Social Development coordinated the aforementioned campaign.

The pilot project provided useful information with respect to Aedes aegypti breeding sites; the attitudes and knowledge among the population toward mosquito control; and visibility of the vector control unit of CPS.

The risk of mosquito-borne diseases depends a great deal on the size of mosquito populations and the incidence rate of disease. Although mosquito abundance can be estimated through a collection of either immature or adult mosquitoes, mosquito abundance is a key factor contributing to the risk of virus transmission.

The following neighborhoods were visited in the Cul de Sac Basin by the vector control unit: Saunders, Mary’s Fancy, Betty’s Estate, Ebenezer, St. Johns, St. Peters, South Reward and Weymouth Hill. The inspection/control took place from August 20 to 15 October.

The vector control in the aforementioned neighborhoods included house to house inspections; a home owner questionnaire; placement of Ovitraps for monitoring; intervention by targeted flogging that took place in Mary’s Fancy and in the area of the Sister Magda Primary School.

624 houses/properties were visited in the Cul de Sac Basin; 333 were open for inspection while 281 were closed; 71 were positive for mosquito breeding; while 223 persons were interviewed during the inspections. Schools were also part of the inspections.

Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever are all transmitted to humans by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. More than half of the world’s population lives in areas where this mosquito species is present.

Sustained mosquito control efforts are important to prevent outbreaks of these diseases. There are several different types of mosquitoes and some have the ability to carry many different diseases.

The Beat ZikV community program calls for close cooperation of residents within the identified district (s) to ensure a smooth operation of house to house visits and their availability to create an opportunity to provide one on one education for the elimination of mosquito breeding sites in and around the house.

The ultimate objective is to minimize the occurrence of mosquito-borne diseases by eliminating mosquito breeding sites within the districts with a special focus on the elimination of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito.

The Vector Control Unit of CPS was supported by personnel from the Department of Community Development and Humanitarian Affairs, volunteers from the St. Maarten Red Cross, Voluntary Corps Sint Maarten (VKS), American University of the Caribbean (AUC), Community Councils, and Rotary Clubs.

An increase in the mosquito population puts residents and visitors at risk. For information about dengue fever, zika, and chikungunya prevention measures, you can call CPS 542-2078 or 542-3003 to report mosquito breeding sites or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Safety Tips for Decorating your Home and Christmas tree.

GREAT BAY (DCOMM):---Holiday shoppers are busy buying Christmas trees and lights to adorn their home this holiday season. As the day gets closer, families are bustling around to have everything in place for Christmas Eve.

Parents and family members should keep in mind some holiday safety tips where it concerns decorations and the Christmas tree. The season is all about family togetherness and we would like everyone to have a safe holiday season incident-free.

Every year the Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a section that falls under the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, as part of its calendar of observances, highlights and creates awareness where it concerns safe holidays.

Check out this list of holiday season safety tips:

Trees:

• When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label "Fire Resistant." Although this label does not mean the tree won't catch fire, it does indicate the tree will resist burning and should extinguish quickly.
• When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and do not break when bent between your fingers. The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.
• When setting up a tree at home, be sure to keep the stand filled with water. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.
Lights:
• Indoors or outside, use only lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory, which indicates conformance with safety standards. Use only lights that have fused plugs.
• Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections, and throw out damaged sets. Always replace burned-out bulbs promptly with the same wattage bulbs.
• Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord. Make sure the extension cord is rated for the intended use.
• Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted.
• Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use.
• Stay away from power or feeder lines leading from utility poles into older homes.
• Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house walls, or other firm supports to protect the lights from wind damage. Use only insulated staples to hold strings in place, not nails or tacks. Or, run strings of lights through hooks (available at hardware stores).
• Turn off all holiday lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire.
• Use caution when removing outdoor holiday lights. Never pull or tug on lights - they could unravel and inadvertently wrap around power lines.
• Outdoor electric lights and decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). Portable outdoor GFCIs can be purchased where electrical supplies are sold. GFCIs can be installed permanently to household circuits by a qualified electrician.

Decorations:

• Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree. Choose tinsel or artificial icicles of plastic or nonleaded metals. Leaded materials are hazardous if ingested by children.
• Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens. Always use non-flammable holders, and place candles where they will not be knocked down.
• In homes with small children, take special care to avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable, keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children to avoid the child swallowing or inhaling small pieces, and avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food that may tempt a child to eat them.
• Wear gloves to avoid eye and skin irritation while decorating with spun glass "angel hair."
• Follow container directions carefully to avoid lung irritation while decorating with artificial snow sprays.


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