29 C
City of Banjul
Wednesday, October 28, 2020

HIV/AIDS control, prevention 2015 bill passes

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It provides that a person who disseminates false or erroneous information on HIV and AIDS prevention, promotes drugs, materials, agents or procedures without any medical and scientific basis and without the prior authorisation of the ministry responsible for health or its accreditation agencies; or provides packaging of drugs, materials or agents that are stated or intended to cure HIV/AIDS or protect against the disease knowing or having reason to believe that the inscription on the packaging is false or not true, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not less than D25, 000 or imprisonment for one year jail or both. 

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In the Act, the ministries responsible for Basic and Secondary Education, Higher Education and Health shall ensure that students are educated on HIV and AIDS in public and private schools at basic, secondary and higher levels, including formal, non-formal and indigenous learning systems. The name institutions, the Act further stipulates shall ensure, education and training courses cover the modes of transmission of and ways of preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, as well as the human rights of the people living with HIV and vulnerable groups. 

According to the Act, all health care personnel shall ensure that education and information on HIV and AIDS form part of the health services that they render to their patients, while challenging that the Ministry of Health shall ensure health care personnel are appropriately trained on providing information and education on HIV and AIDS. “The National AIDS Secretariat in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, local government council and civil society, shall launch an education and information campaign on HIV and AIDS.” Regarding the information for tourists and passengers in transit, the Act stated that the Ministries responsible for Health and Tourism shall ensure that information materials on the causes, modes of transmission, prevention and consequences of HIV infection shall be provided for in the appropriate manner at all international entry and exit points and major tourist sites. 

It adds that the Ministry of Health in collaboration with National AIDS Secretariat and the Ministries responsible for Tourism, Foreign Affairs, and Justice shall be in charge of enforcing this provision. The Act strongly condemns all forms of discrimination against HIV/AIDS victims, thus advocating equal treatment. Tabling the Bill before the lawmakers, Omar Sey, minister for Health and Social Welfare explained that the National Aids Council and the National Aids Secretariat are the institutions in the implementation of the national policy, strategy, and plan of action on HIV and AIDS and this Act will help in guiding their operation.

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