Education / Training
During the first five years the Ministry’ Education Programme focused on sensitising the staff of the Ministry and its departments on the issue of HIV and AIDS. This was facilitated through the training of a cadre of public officers to act as HIV/AIDS Educators. These officers have been responsible for providing training on request to organisations in the public and private sectors.
In addition to this service, the Ministry conducts training workshops on peer education and stigma reduction. To date, over thirty-eight peer educators have been trained to assist with the HIV/AIDS programme both in the workplace and the community.
From 2004 to 2007 the Ministry collaborated with the International Labour Organisation and hosted a training workshop for labour inspectorate on policy development. Several officers from under the aegis of the Ministry were trained in Behaviour Change Communication strategies.
The Ministry collaborates with the Barbados Employers’ Confederation to conduct ‘Securing the Workforce of the Future’ workshop that is aimed at educating school leavers on the issues surrounding HIV/AIDS in the workplace.
In an effort to encourage employers to put policies and mechanisms in place to deal with HIV/AIDS, the Ministry also conducts workshops and seminars for employers.
The Ministry engages in a number of community outreach activities to take the messages directly to the workers.
In 2003 the Ministry held its first outreach at Princess Alice Terminal in Bridgetown to target transport and fisherfolk workers in the area. In 2006 a similar exercise was held in Speightstown, St Peter and this outreach was extended to the small and medium size businesses in the immediate community. An integral aspect of the community outreach programme is voluntary counselling and testing.
The Ministry conducted a ‘bus tour’ to over forty business places from Lears, St Michael to the Glebe, St George. HIV/AIDS packages were provided for management and their workers.
In 2005 the Ministry conducted an evaluation of its HIV/AIDS programme. Major findings of the study included the need for government to have a policy on HIV/AIDS for the public sector and for orgnisations to have a designated officer to deal with health issues such as HIV/AIDS. Therefore, the Ministry has prepared a draft ‘Policy on HIV/AIDS and Other Life threatening Illnesses for the Public Sector’ which was approved by Cabinet in February 2009. A study was also conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the Billboard entitled “Don’t Get Caught in the HIV/AIDS Net” located in Oistins, Christ Church.