Healthcare workers trained in rapid testing

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Medical practitioners on the island continue to receive training on how to effectively administer rapid testing for HIV and syphilis.
The series of training sessions which began in December 2017 with district nurses from the various clinics, continued last Saturday at the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre, (MSJMC), where a number of nurses and doctors from the maternity ward were trained.
The final batch of healthcare workers from the hospital will receive similar training this coming Saturday.
Karen Brotherson, the facilitator, said that the training is necessary for the fight against Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) on a whole, especially between a mother and her unborn baby.
Brotherson, who is also the national trainer in HIV Rapid Testing and Voluntary Testing in the Ministry of Health and the Environment, said that the exercise is important as Antigua and Barbuda seeks to maintain its validation for having successfully eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and congenital syphilis.
“We are ensuring that the maternity unit and all of our antenatal nurses and doctors know how to perform the rapid HIV test and the rapid syphilis test which will eventually be introduced into the healthcare system. Right now, we are just training them,” Brotherson said.
In the first phase of the exercise, thirteen health technicians from the AIDS Secretariat, the district clinics, the antenatal clinic and the Health, Hope and HIV Network, were trained.
Antigua and Barbuda was among six countries to be officially certified as having eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and Syphilis in December 2017.
The group of six countries and territories were the second in the region of the Americas to receive that recognition, joining Cuba that was validated by the World Health Organisation in 2015.

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