National Aids Commission moves into San Pedro

Saturday, June 16th, 2012

The National Aids Commission (NAC), the only legal entity in the country tasked with the responsibility to execute the national response to HIV/AIDS, is moving into San Pedro and forming a local coordinating committee. The first of a series of coordinating meetings took place on Friday June 8th at the conference room of the San Pedro Town Council. The newly recruited members were oriented and trained on the function of NAC in Belize. The NAC branch in San Pedro will have representation of various government agencies as well as locally represented organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who are involved in the national response to HIV/AIDs.

According to Executive Director for the NAC Secretariat Dr. Martin Cuellar, the NAC will be working on the island with key members of the community from different sectors that are being recruited to join the local branch of the national organization. “The local branch of the National Aids Commission will coordinate the work of all agencies and partners who are working in the fight against HIV/Aids in San Pedro,” said Cuellar. As the NAC continues with orientation and training on Ambergris Caye, a similar committee will be formed in other districts across the country. “The committee in San Pedro will be the official local coordinating body of the National Aids Commission in Belize,” said Cuellar.

NAC’s main objective is to coordinate, facilitate and monitor the national response to HIV/AIDs as well as the National Strategic Plan. NAC also has the shared responsibility to advocate for resource mobilization, the development of policy and legislation and overall monitoring and evaluation of all interventions and efforts. NAC, in monitoring the national response to HIV/AIDs, must work to reduce the incidence and spread of HIV/AIDs and provide comprehensive and quality support for persons living with HIV/AIDs.

When asked if NAC will duplicate the efforts of the local San Pedro Aids Commission, Dr. Cuellar response was “No.” Cuellar explained that “the NAC committee will be the coordinating body while the local San Pedro Aids group is an implementing body and we invite representation from the existing local group to join us as we continue the coordination work. The NAC committee will also provide support to member agencies such as the local existing group as well as other agencies, departments and ministries that are currently working in the fight against HIV/Aids on the island.”

NAC hopes that all agencies involved in the national response to HIV/AIDs on the island will join the local committee. A two-day training session has been scheduled for July 6th and 7th for all stakeholders and volunteers that will form the local committee of NAC on San Pedro. After all the members are trained, they will be presented to the committee as the official local representatives of the National Aids Commission on the island.

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