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Newly appointed Chairman of the National HIV/AIDS Commission, Dr. Henrick Ellis, speaking at the yesterday’s press conference announcing his appointment, as Minister of Youth, Family and Sports Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo listens.

 
   

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New HIV/AIDS Commission Chair revealed

2/2/2010

DR. Henrick Ellis is the new Chairman of the National HIV/AIDS Commission.

The announcement was made by Minister of Youth, Family and Sports Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo yesterday.

The new Chairman told the media at a press conference yesterday, “I am pleased that the Minister has reposed this trust in me I certainly will work to maintaining that trust not only with the Minister and the Commission but Barbadians.”

“I feel that I am very up to this task. I’ve been in HIV/AIDS education, counselling and treatment for the last 23 years. So I am fairly au fait with what is happening not only in Barbados but the region and currently what goes on around the world,” he assured.

The medical practitioner, HIV educator and counsellor fills the post of Dr. Carol Jacobs who retired from that position last November. Dr. Ellis, who was officially appointed yesterday, has been involved with HIV in Barbados for over decades and is a founding member of the National Advisory Committee on AIDS, the entity that preceded the Commission. He is credited with forming the National AIDS Hotline and the AIDS Society of Barbados, a non-governmental organisation in 1990.

Dr. Ellis has represented Barbados at several International HIV Conferences in Sweden, Canada, Italy and Germany among others. He has avidly contributed to research in HIV and continues to be an advocate for HIV awareness, especially in the faith-based population with the formation of the Christian response to HIV.

He coordinates the HIV programme for the Anglican Diocese of Barbados and has since 2003, trained numerous groups comprising clergy of all denominations as well as laypersons about HIV. In 2004, Dr. Ellis was recognised for his contribution to the medical field, particularly HIV, and was awarded the Silver Crown of Merit in the National Independence Honours.
The Minister said that given Dr. Ellis’ extensive background in HIV/AIDS, he is nothing more than a valuable asset to the Commission in dealing with the challenges that Barbados faces today. “The challenges are many, while Barbadians have no lack of knowledge about HIV/AIDS - about how it could be spread and how it could be prevented, we are yet to see a real turnaround in the change of behaviours especially among our youth.”

“The youth still are a very worrying demographic and so Dr. Ellis is aware that among the many areas that he will have to take charge of, one will be to oversee the changing behaviours in our young people,” the Minister stated.

She explained that the new Chairman’s duties will include representing the Government of Barbados at international meetings on HIV/AIDS; helping to identify available technical assistance and sources of funding with agencies as may be required; monitoring comparative
experiences requiring the care an treatment of HIV/AIDS, advising Government of Barbados on major developments occurring worldwide as they relate to HIV/AIDS; and presiding over monthly meetings of the Commission’s Board as well as any other duties that may become
necessary. (JH)

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