CPA MEDIA RELEASE
Pharmacists Join Forces to Fight AIDS
Pharmacists are well positioned to fight the fear, shame and ignorance associated with HIV/AIDS according to Commonwealth Pharmaceutical Association (CPA) President, Mrs Grace Allen Young.
Mrs Allen Young was speaking on the occasion of World Aids Day at the Commonwealth People?s Forum in Abuja, Nigeria in the lead up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2003.
As well as being the primary legal custodians of medicines, pharmacists are generally skilled communicators and health educators, said Mrs Allen Young. They are often the most accessible of all health professionals, she said.
They can play a vital role in breaking down the stigma and discrimination often associated with the disease.
Pharmacists? commitment to work collaboratively with governments and other healthcare workers is outlined in the Ocho Rios Statement.
This Statement is the outcome of an HIV/AIDS Workshop conducted by the Commonwealth Pharmaceutical Association in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, in August this year, attended by over 200 pharmacists from throughout the Commonwealth. The Statement identifies ways in which pharmacists can be proactively involved, at the national and community levels, in the fight against AIDS.
The Ocho Rios Statement was officially launched in Abuja by the Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General, Mr Winston Cox, together with Mrs Allen Young and the President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Mr Bob Uwaga.
?Our aim?, said Mr Uwaga, ?is to encourage greater public awareness of the discrimination faced daily by those living with HIV and AIDS. As pharmacists?, he said, ?we can play a leading role by providing a supportive environment for sufferers and their carers. When people feel safe within their communities, they are more likely to take responsibility for their HIV status, seek treatment and prevent transmission,? the President said.
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