AMERICAN SAMOA MARKS ‘WORLD AIDS DAY’
On World Aids Day, tomorrow, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga is urging residents of American Samoa to take part in prevention activities and observances designed to increase awareness and understanding of HIV/AIDS as a global challenge, and to join the global effort to prevent the further spread of HIV/AIDS.
In his World AIDS Day proclamation, the Governor said UNAIDS estimates that the number of people living with HIV is 36.7 million people worldwide; 2.1 million became newly infected with HIV and 1.1 million lost their lives to AIDS.
He says the American Samoa Government in conjunction with the American Association for World Health is encouraging a better understanding of the challenge of HIV/AIDS nationally as it recognizes that the number of people diagnosed with HIV and AIDS in the US continues to increase.
This year’s theme is “Hands Up For #HIV Prevention” and it’s the hands up #HIV prevention campaign that will explore different aspects of HIV prevention and how they relate to specific groups of people, such as adolescent girls and young women, key populations and people living with HIV.
“We need to raise awareness and help address the many issues affecting our people of today around HIV and AIDS,” says the Governor.
The local observance starts at around 6a.m. today with a wave at Su’igaula o le Atuvasa at Utulei Beach. Tomorrow a 6p.m. is the church service at Gov. Rex Lee Auditorium with an off island keynote speaker, followed by the lighting of candles to remember those who died of AIDS.
INCREASE IN NUMBER OF CONFIRMED ZIKA CASES
There is an increase in the number of confirmed Zika cases in American Samoa, based on the latest data released last week by the Health Department.
As of Oct. 13, DoH data states that there were 896 suspected Zika cases with 53 confirmed through laboratory testing. Of the confirmed cases, 21 are pregnant women.
In the latest data released last week, DoH says that as of Nov. 18 there are 982 suspected Zika cases in American Samoa and 57 confirmed through laboratory testing. Of the total confirmed cases, 24 of them are pregnant women.
Late last month the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a report, which looks at Zika virus’ spread in American Samoa and the challenges presented during the responses. The report, titled, ‘Notes from the Field: CDC and its local health partners compiled Outbreak of Zika Virus Disease - American Samoa, 2016’. (See Samoa News edition Oct. 24 for details.)
On Saturday, Dec. 3, DoH is hosting “Zika Action Day” under the theme, “Fight the Bite” from 8a.m. to 12noon in front of Cost-U-Less in Tafuna. There will be program booths, displays and distribution of Zika materials, and give-away gifts. (See the DoH advertisement in today’s issue.)
NZ DIPLOMAT NAMED SAMOA-AM SAMOA HIGH COMMISSIONER
New Zealand has appointed David Nicholson as the country’s High Commissioner to Samoa. Nicholson will also be accredited to American Samoa, according to a statement Monday from New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully.
“Samoa is a close and long-standing friend, and an important partner for New Zealand in the Pacific,” McCully says. “Our relationship is founded on the Treaty of Friendship and strong ongoing economic, political and cultural links. We also work together closely on a range of regional initiatives and through the Pacific Forum.”
Nicholson has worked on Pacific development issues at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade since 2012 and is currently Divisional Manager – Melanesia and Micronesia.