Vevinne Walker (right), pharmacist and customer service manager, and Angela Tait (centre), public relations manager at Cari-Med, along with Norman Dunn, president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Jamaica, discuss plans for the inaugural pharmacists' walk, slated to take place on Sunday, May 27. - Contributed
As Jamaica continues its efforts to combat the rising HIV infection rate in Jamaica, Cari-Med, in association with pharmacists islandwide and their professional society, the Pharmaceutical Society of Jamaica (PSJ), will be staging its inaugural pharmacists' walk on Sunday, May 27.
Dubbed, 'Wellness and Care, Cari-Med and Pharmacists Walking You There', the walk will kick off at the Emancipation Park and is expected to be an exciting family affair for all ages. It is endorsed by the Ministry of Health, the Caribbean Association of Pharmacists, the Commonwealth Pharmacy Association and The National Council on Drug Abuse.
In recognition of May as Child'sMonth, the proceeds from the walk will go towards raising funds for children living with HIV/AIDS.
The campaign will also seek to:
Elevate the tolerance levels among children as it relates to their peers living with the disease.
Raise the consciousness of the risks associated with irresponsible sexual behaviour.
"We came up with the idea for our campaign, because we were concerned about the plight of children living with HIV/AIDS," said Vevinne Walker, pharmacist and customer service manager at Cari-Med.
Committed to the fight
"Cari-Med has always been involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS because we were one of the first companies to distribute inexpensive medication for those afflicted with the disease. By organising this campaign, we signify our intentions to remain committed to the fight against HIV/AIDS, not only on a commercial level, but also a personal one."
"The Pharmaceutical Society of Jamaica is pleased to be associated with this walk. We welcome the opportunity to display another side of our pharmacists, and to reinforce our commitment to champion the cause of persons affected by and living with HIV/AIDS," said Norman Dunn, president of the PSJ.
Cari-Med and the PSJ's collaboration comes against the background of an increase in the number of children affected with HIV/AIDS. Between January and June 2006, 34 new AIDS cases were reported in children under 10 years old, compared to 24 new cases reported between January and June 2005. Kingston and St. Andrew has the highest incidence of infection, with 337 cases reported in this age group, between 1982 and 2006, followed by St. Catherine second with 123, and St. James third, with 104.
According to the Ministry of Health's 2006 report on the AIDS epidemic, of approximately 72 per cent of AIDS cases, the main factors fuelling the spread of AIDS are multiple sex partners, history of STDs, crack/cocaine use and sex with prostitutes.