Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS shares awards


Six private sector entities were on Friday night honoured when the Guyana Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS (GBCHA) held its 4th Annual Awards for Business Excellence at the Grand Savannah Suite, Pegasus Hotel in the city.
Emerging the 2010 Winner of the Award for Business Excellence – Community Investment was Scotiabank (Guyana), with the National Milling Company Inc. copping the 2010 Winner of the Award for Business Excellence for Outstanding Performance by Peer Educators. Republic Bank Ltd. (Guyana) was adjudged the 2010 Winner of the Award for Business Excellence – Workplace Programme, while Edward B. Beharry and Company Ltd received Honourable Mention for Outstanding Performance by Peer Educators. The Guyana Power and Light Inc. and Grace Kennedy Remittance Services Ltd (Guyana) each received Honourable Mention for Workplace Programmes.
Chairperson of the GBCHA, Mrs. Amanda St. Aubyn, in her opening remarks, said that the main purpose of the occasion was to celebrate the valuable contribution made by individual entities and their leaders in the fight against HIV, and showcase exciting workplace programmes with community reach that are delivering results.

Announcing the awardees, St. Aubyn noted a high level of innovation being displayed by the businesses in setting the standards, with new examples of best practice in the response to HIV/AIDS locally. She observed too that previous awardees have applied the unique skills, knowledge and resources of the private sector to reduce the spread and impact of HIV and AIDS in the workplace and community.
She made special mention of Grace Kennedy Remittance Services, the newest member of the Coalition, and commended that entity for its leadership and commitment to the ideals of the Coalition, and for resolute engagement in workplace programmes and community investment for many years.
The Awards for Business Excellence is an unparalleled opportunity for the Coalition to publicly recognize the many significant contributions the business community has made in the national response to HIV/AIDS over the past year.
Commenting on progress made by the Coalition since its launch in 2008, the GBCHA President noted that the 4th Annual Awards for Business Excellence finds the Coalition more robust and growing. “We have developed a keener focus in the past year and a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing the business sector in Guyana as it takes on HIV and other social and health concerns present in our community,” she said.
Noting that the past year has been one of challenges and achievements. St. Aubyn commended the contributions of the private sector and the steadfast support of the members of the Coalition.
She also acknowledged the support of chief donor, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to the staff of the GBCHA secretariat; the technical expertise provided by USAID partners, GHARPII and CSDS; the Ministry of Health and the National AIDS Programme Secretariat; and the Ministry of Labour, along with the International Labour Organisation and others.
Some of the achievements recorded over the last year, the GBCHA President noted, were:
* More than 700 individuals being reached with HIV prevention information and resources through workplace programmes since 2009
* Increased participation and support – financial and otherwise for the National Week of HIV Testing, with the involvement of 15 member companies setting up 21temporary testing sites at which more than 2,000 persons were tested around the country.
* As of October 2009, the beginning of the current project year, the GBCHA secretariat reached and trained peer educators and focal point persons in more than 25 workplaces.
* Hundreds of thousands of dollars of in-kind and financial resources contributed to the National AIDS Programme Secretariat (NAPS) food bank by GBCHA member entities to aid in safeguarding the sustainability of the life-saving programme.
Additionally the GBCHA now has an HIV testing site at its secretariat, Orange Walk, Bourda, providing the following services:
* Testing during lunch and in the evening to accommodate the working population, offered free of charge to clients, with assured confidentiality and professionalism. This facility is now reputed to be one of the most productive testing sites in the country since its opening, taking the first and second top spots every month since December.
* A reliable referral network which guarantees better access to follow-up care and emphasizes the need for a holistic approach to wellness.
On a note of optimism, Mrs. St. Aubyn said that the secretariat of the GBCHA looks forward to a continued bright future, adding: “In the coming year, we look forward to a strengthened and expanded private sector response to HIV and AIDS in Guyana. Applying the unique skills and knowledge of the business world, we can help stop the spread of HIV and together build a healthier Guyana!”