The Caribbean Conference of Churches (CCC) through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) Project "Building a Faith-Based Response to HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean", soared to the next level at the launching and piloting of a Manual, "The Care Ministry for Faith Based Organisations: Guidelines for Training Home Based Caregivers", during a workshop at the Bird Rock Hotel, Bird Rock, Basseterre, St. Kitts.
The CCC Northeastern sub-region hosted the workshop conducted during the period, March 27-31, 2006 . Delegates attended from Anguilla , Antigua and Barbuda , Dominica , and St. Kitts and Nevis.
During the opening ceremony chaired by Mrs. Evelyn Smithen, CCC Programme Officer, the opening prayer was done by Archdeacon Valentine Hodge. This was followed by the St. Kitts and Nevis National Anthem which was rendered by Ms. Sharina Laws - a student at the St. Theresa's Convent High School accompanied by Mr. Ian Hodge, Director of St. George's Senior Choir. Ms. Elizabeth Nicholas, CCC Regional Programme Coordinator, HIV/AIDS, welcomed participants to the workshop, brought greetings on behalf of CCC and CIDA, and expressed regret at the absence of Mr. Gerard Granado, the General Secretary of CCC who was fulfilling a previous engagement. Ms. Nicholas informed the participants of relevant aspects of the project.
One key aspect of the project was the presentation of the Manual, which in its draft state comprises eight (8) Modules including the following broad areas:-
The Person Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA)
Treatment and Management
Stigma and Discrimination
The Care Ministry for FBOs
Honourable Rupert Herbert, Minister of Health and Gender Affairs, extended greetings, and later referred to the frightening statistical data on HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean as well as to some of the forces driving the condition locally, regionally and internationally.
He congratulated the Faith Based Organizations (FBOs) for their involvement in the prevention, mitigation, care, support and treatment of PLWHAs. After declaring the workshop opened, he entertained the participants with a pan selection - 'O Danny Boy'. The vote of thanks was given by Mr. Ainsley Reid, CCC Programme Officer, North Western sub-region.
The workshop was deemed timely and appropriate. With the help and support of local and regional facilitators, participants were afforded the opportunity to interactively and meaningfully participate and discuss topics and issues surrounding Home Based Care. Participants sat comfortably yet were energized by discussing and exchanging views, even when the sessions went into overtime.
On the last day of the workshop, the sharing by the PLWHA stirred much emotion among participants. Some verbalised that though they had met and listened to a PLWHA before, the interaction with the PLWHA at this session forced them to make a giant step.
Participants were pleased with the pace of the activities as well as with the calibre of the facilitators. These included: Sister Clare Rolle O.S.B., Director of the Samaritan Ministry, Bahamas; Mrs.Verna St. Rose-Greaves, a Social Worker, Trinidad; Rev. Dr. Marcus Lashley, Psychologist, Barbados; Dr. Andrew Holness, M.D., St. Kitts; Ms. Ruth Woodley, R.N., St. Kitts; Dr. Kathleen Allen- Ferdinand, M.D., St. Kitts; Ms. Marguerite O'Brien France, R.N., St. Kitts; Ms. Ena Sutton, R.N., St. Kitts; and CCC's Ainsley Reid of Jamaica.
The participants were anxious about the next step in taking the process forward, some even held one-on-one discussions with Sister Rolle.
The representative from Dominica expressed his pleasure to be there as they had just instituted the "Roseau Care Givers and Receivers Cooperative Society Ltd".
Having returned to their respective countries with a wealth of information, the participants are all determined to share and garner the support of their congregations and other interested individuals to strategize for the introduction of Home Based Care.
The CCC wishes to say thanks to the facilitators who unstintingly imparted their expertise and to all the participants who made this such a rich and life changing experience.
Honourable Rupert Herbert, Minister of Health and Gender Affairs, St. Kitts and Nevis, seated third from right, is surrounded by Workshop Participants and CCC Staff to mark the occasion of the CCC launch and piloting of "The Care Ministry for Faith Based Organisations: Guidelines for Training Home Based Care" Manual at Bird Rock, Basseterre , St. Kitts.