Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Online database for HIV research launched

Critical research has taken another step into the public domain with the launch of an online database housing, to-date, around 5 000 scientific publications and reports on HIV in Barbados and the wider Caribbean.

Called the Virtual HIV Research Unit, this research hub, an initiative of the National HIV/AIDS Commission (NHAC), the Ministry of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, as well as the University of the West Indies, was launched recently at the Warrens Office Complex in Barbados.
Barbados’ Minister of Health, John Boyce (centre), and
Barbados’ Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment
and Community Development, Steven Blackett, share their
comments on the newly launched Virtual HIV Research Unit
with Chairman of the National HIV/AIDS Research
Committee, Professor Clive Landis.

The online database allows the public access to several sound, academic articles on HIV facts in the Caribbean, some written by well known top researchers in the medical field, other publications are secured and for the access of professional users. The website also allows persons to submit their research papers, which may then be uploaded, subject to approval by the NHAC research committee.

Barbados’ Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steven Blackett hailed the VHRU as testimony to his Ministry's commitment “to ensure that all Barbadians are empowered to respond effectively to the threat posed by HIV to the sustainable development of our nation”. Despite the region still having one of the highest prevalence of HIV, the Minister believes that Barbados continues to be on par with other developed and developing nations in its HIV information gathering, monitoring, evaluating and compiling of journals on the successes we continued to attain, and reminded those attending the launch of the nation's drive towards HIV-free generation by the year 2018.

“...the [VHRU] is by far the most comprehensive collection of HIV scholarly documents in one location in Barbados… available to researchers, students, Non Governmental Organisations, Community Based Organisations and anyone else intimately involved in the area of HIV education, care and support,” said Blackett.

He further linked the VHRU's arrival with the beginning of Government’s National Strategic Plan (NSP) for HIV, 2014 to 2018. He explained that the vision of the NSP was that by 2018, the country would have made significant progress toward achieving the global HIV elimination goal: Zero new HIV infections, Zero discrimination and Zero AIDS-related deaths.

Amongst those in attendance were Minister of Health, John Boyce; Professor Sir Trevor Austin Hassell; and Chair of the NHAC Research Committee Professor, Clive Landis, who provided a walk-through explanation of how the website works. (RS)

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