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Health official warns against religious culture

Health official warns against religious culture

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A United Nations health official has warned against the Caribbean’s religious culture being allowed to hinder the flow of the various reproductive health commodities and services.{{more}}

However, Harold Robinson, who is the Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in the Caribbean, said that the people’s spiritual lives and conviction cannot be taken for granted.

“It is about finding the right balance without ignoring. It is extremely important that the spiritual aspect of people’s lives are considered and respected,” Robinson said.

Robinson was speaking at a press conference which followed Tuesday’s opening ceremony of the UNFPA Caribbean’s Reproductive Health Commodities Security (RHCS) three-day workshop, held at Grenadine House at Kingstown Park.

Twenty-seven participants from 14 countries were brought together to undergo training in the use of computer software which will help to manage the supply of reproductive health commodities and to lessen the possibility of “stock out”.

Robinson, during his address at the opening ceremony of the workshop, which will be conducted by Systems Development Specialist in the Technical Support Division of UNFPA, Joseph Abraham, also highlighted the importance women’s sexual and reproductive health to the reduction of several undesirable health care concerns.

He said that only when women and girls are empowered to make the right choices about their sexual and reproductive health can “we see significant decreases in the women who die needlessly in child birth, a reduction in child mortality and also a reduction in the number of people who are infected with HIV.”

Meanwhile, Minister of Health Dr Douglas Slater said that the Caribbean has made tremendous strides but still has gaps to fill in the area of RHCS.

He told the participants to consider themselves as part of the development of the countries they are representing.

Dr Slater also acknowledged that there are hindrances and hurdles to the advancement of reproductive health care, including, but not confined to religious hurdles.

He however believes that a balance can be found, as religious leaders must do their jobs and so to must health workers.(KJ)