Working Together for a Healthier “We”
Eleuthera, Bahamas--On Saturday August 19th the Bahamas AIDS Foundation hosted an Adherence Management seminar which included HIV/ AIDS 101 on the island of Eleuthera. The initiative is an ongoing project by the AIDS Foundation and is being funded by a grant from CARICOM.
Conducting the seminar were Mrs. Carlyn Smith – McKenzie, Lead Facilitator, Public Health Educator and Grant Administrator and Ms. Tracey Rahming, Social Worker. The theme of the series of workshops is Working Together For A Healthier ‘WE’. During the Seminar, the ladies thoroughly explained to the participants what is HIV/ AIDS and covered an overview of adherence practices. This included symptoms, testing, treatment, and healthy living. They also led a discussion on the psychosocial component which is another important aspect of any illness including HIV/ AIDS. Overall, participants were given general information on how persons living with HIV/ AIDS can have an improved quality of life by simply following strict medical adherence. The slide presentation showed some Bahamian statistics relating to the disease. The duo shared very valuable information on how The Bahamas AIDS Foundation has and can assist anyone affected by HIV/ AIDS.
Assisting the Bahamas AIDS Foundation with logistics to host the seminar locally was The One Eleuthera Foundation. Also partnering to make this forum available to Eleutherans was the Cancer Society of Eleuthera. The workshop took place in Palmetto Point at The Cancer Society Wellness Center. The audience comprised of over 20 persons who commuted from South Eleuthera thru to North Eleuthera. Attending were Community leaders, Rotarians, nurses, a school principal, social worker, members from the Royal Bahamas Police Force and Police Reserve Officers. A very lively and informative exchange took place between the facilitators and the attendees. Each attendee claimed to have learned new facts on the topics and were very grateful to have attended the Saturday morning session.
Registered Nurse and Midwife, Nurse Bianca Edwards stated, “I am glad for the information and the partnership with the foundations. Hopefully we can join forces to eradicate the stigma that people have on AIDS / HIV through role play and workshops throughout Eleuthera. Hopefully we can have more of lay persons from the communities”.
Another attendee was Mr. Andrew Hall, Plant Mechanic with BPL. Mr. Hall said, “The seminar was very informative and offered a lot more than I knew before. The persons who led the seminar were very informative and accommodating to questions.” He concluded, “There’s a lot that community leaders still need to do to get the numbers to zero.”
Mrs. Smith- McKenzie and Ms. Rahming, seminar facilitators both indicated that they were pleased with the way the session proceeded. The current campaign has hosted sessions in New Providence where they have shared the information with both audiences of adults and audiences of adolescents. They have shared with Community leaders, Church leaders, Urban Renewal, Social Workers, Caregivers of those affected with HIV/ AIDS and Police and Defense Force Officers. The team has plans to take their campaign to Central Andros, Mayaguana, Cat Island and Abaco. Mrs. Smith McKenzie determined, “It is hoped that through these seminars, that public policies with regards to adherence management is implemented by the National Authorities and there is more collaboration with the National AIDS program to educate the community and the wider Bahamas.”
Photo 1: Mrs. Carlyn Smith – McKenzie, Lead Facilitator and Grant Administrator
Photo 2: Workshop participants