AIDS programme co-ordinator distances her staff from HIV list

AIDS Programme Co-ordinator Delcora Williams was yesterday seeking to bolster confidence in her agency by expressing faith in both her staff and the confidentiality systems as a list of names purporting to identify 25 people infected with the virus continued in public circulation.

Her assurance comes as some members of the public suggested that workers at the AIDS Secretariat might be responsible for leaking the names which have still not been verified as persons living with the disease.

Williams verified that staff at the secretariat work under threat of termination if found to have divulged client information.

“Let’s say I hear three names out there and they’re saying that they got it from the national programme. I can go and look to see which one of my staff has that three names and that person is getting the problem. That is the person that is gonna get fired ‘cause I’m gonna recommend it to my permanent secretary,” she said.

The counsellors are even responsible for guarding the identities of their clients from each other. Williams also said that in the ordinary operations, she knows only the people she deals with personally.

“As the programme manager, when my counsellors come back to me, they do not even give me the person’s name. We use codes for everything. They would say they have a new admission or they have a new client. She is 55 years old from wherever,” said Williams.

She said that another layer of confidentiality is a strict requirement that all information related to clients is kept in locked filing cabinets – one for each counsellor who would also keep the keys in his or her possession at all times.

“It’s so bad sometimes that even the stats – the data – even that we keep locked way, and it doesn’t have people’s names on it, because we don’t able somebody might come and understand the code and pick it up and run with it,” she said.

 

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