Though suicide is complicated and tragic, it is often preventable. It is with this in mind, and as part of its 50th anniversary of operating in Guyana, that the Massy Industries (Guyana) Limited adopted Suicide Prevention as a national platform, for which it would add support to help raise awareness and contribute towards the reduction in suicide rates by 10% by 2020 as per the Government’s National Suicide Prevention Plan.A quick browse on most of the Group’s Facebook pages for the eight (8) operating companies in Guyana would reveal suicide prevention messages that foster good mental health, as well as provide information on where to seek help, including contact details for the Guyana Inter-Agency Suicide Prevention Hotline.Christpen Bobb-Semple, Director of Corporate Management Systems and coordinator for the Group’s Suicide Prevention programme, indicated that Facebook was chosen as the social media platform as a lot of young people are online, and that it is a great way to connect with people.He indicated that all the companies share the same Facebook post with the hashtag Prevent Suicide (#PreventSuicide) and that this will be done every week for the next 3 months.With Suicide being the second leading cause of death among 15- to 29-year-olds globally, and with Guyana in 2017 having had a suicide rate of 29.9 deaths per 100,000 persons, Massy’s programmes have centred mainly around teenagers.In fact, the Group has partnered with Government ministries to coordinate programmes that seek to get teenagers actively involved. For instance, on September 26 and October 17, collaboration among Massy, the Mental Health Unit of the Ministry of Public Health, and the Ministry of Education will see the hosting of a School Debating Competition at the Massy Staff Facilities Complex at R5 Ruimveldt, Georgetown with The Bishops’ High, Queen’s College, Saint Stanislaus College and St. Joseph High. Massy is hoping to have the debates aired live on its social media page.Also, having recognised that children learn in various forms, Massy has partnered with The One Act Foundation and the Ministry of Education to have a theatrical performance written and performed on Suicide Prevention. The Group is planning to reach more than 800 students directly from 19 schools across Guyana, where they will be invited to witness the play free of 10charge. The play is scheduled to be staged at the National Cultural Centre on October 10th, which coincides with World Mental Health Day.Even though the event is strictly invitational, Mr Christpen Bobb-Semple indicated that the Group would reach an even wider cross section of persons, as plans are in place to have the play recorded and then aired on the television stations in all three counties for at least two weekends.Recently, Massy Guyana provided support as well as participated in the annual walk coordinated by Prevention of Teenage Suicide (P.O.T.S) Guyana, an NGO founded by Ms. Lisa Punch, former Miss Guyana World 2015. This has been the 3rd consecutive year POTS Guyana has coordinated the walk to help raise awareness on suicide prevention among teenagers.Massy is a diversified regional conglomerate with operations throughout the Caribbean basin, Colombia and the United States of America. With over 60 operating companies across 10 countries, the Group employs over 11,000 people.Massy began its operations in Guyana on September 16, 1968, and currently employs 1500 Guyanese.Deo Persaud, Country Manager, believes the work being done by the Group for Suicide Prevention, along with the other social impact projects at various schools and orphanages, is part of the Group’s corporate social responsibility, and he sees it as invaluable and very much aligned to the Group’s purpose of: Being a Force for Good – Creating Value, Transforming Life.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) is now warning that after a major reduction of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome worldwide (HIV/AIDS), the HIV infection in adults is on the rise.According to a UNAIDS report, “after years of steady decline, the Caribbean saw a nine per cent rise in annual new HIV infections among adults between 2010 and 2015”.UNAIDS Executive Director Michel SidibeThis is as a result of the medical drug for the disease not working as effectively as in the past.The report reveals that in some regions globally, the infection is currently on the rise.According to the report, since its introduction in 1997, there was a significant reduction – 40 per cent, in the disease. Most recently, however, analysis from the UNAIDS shows that the HIV infection in adults remains stagnant, failing to decline for at least five years now.The report says that HIV prevention urgently needs to be scaled up among the adult age group.The prevention gap report outlines that an estimated 1.9 million adults have become infected with HIV every year for the past five years and new HIV infections among adults are increasing in some regions.While the numbers of new HIV infections are rising, the report reveals that donor funding to fight the infection has declined to its lowest level since 2010.According to the report, international donor contributions dropped from a peak of US$9.7 billion in 2013 to US$8.1 billion in 2015. “Low- and middle-income countries are stepping up to fill the gap, with domestic resources accounting for 57 per cent of the US$19.2 billion total funding in 2015.”The Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibe, said the organisation was consequently sounding the alarm. “The power of prevention is not being realised. If there is resurgence in new HIV infections now, the epidemic will become impossible to control. The world needs to take urgent and immediate action to close the prevention gap,” he noted.The report also revealed what was needed to step up prevention efforts.UNAIDS is urging countries to take a more comprehensive approach to battle the disease.According to Sidibe, science, innovation and research have provided new and effective HIV prevention options. “Investing in innovation is the only way to secure the next big breakthrough – a cure or a vaccine.”The report highlights that the major hopes for antiretroviral therapy to have an impact on preventing new HIV infections are starting to be realised, although the full benefits may not be seen for some years.The data in the report, collected from more than 160 countries, illustrated that enormous gains can be achieved when concerted efforts are made. It outlines that by 2015 some 17 million people had access to antiretroviral therapy, double the number in 2010 and 22 times the number in 2000. UNAIDS will be calling on implementers, innovators, communities, scientists, donors and others at the 2016 International AIDS Conference, July 18-22, in Durban, South Africa, to close the prevention gap.