Jamaica News: The Jamaica AIDS Support for Life (JASL) on Monday (November 26), officially opened its renovated wellness centre in Kingston.
The facility will enable more Jamaicans to access HIV prevention, treatment, and support services in a modern and spacious environment.
Additionally, it will house JASL’s head office operations, comprising the organisation’s administrative, finance and programmes departments.
Speaking at the official opening ceremony, JASL’s Executive Director, Kandasi Levermore, thanked the entity’s stakeholder partners for their contributions over the years.
She assured current and prospective clients that “we are committed to making this space friendly; we are committed to a stigma-free space, and we are committing to help you to meet your needs, so that you can have the best life possible”.
Senior Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health’s HIV/STI/TB Unit, Dr. Nicola Skyers, said JASL is an example of how non-governmental organisations (NGOs) can contribute to nation building and influence the trajectory of service delivery to Jamaicans.
“I want to thank you for your transformational leadership, especially in the area of HIV. Your treatment outcomes are amongst the best across the nation, and we certainly applaud that,” she said.
Dr. Skyers said the Ministry remains steadfast in its support for the JASL, “and we look forward to the ongoing collaboration and certainly strengthening it as we aim to stem the HIV epidemic in our country”.
Japanese Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Hiromasa Yamazaki, said he was pleased that the Government of Japan was able to assist JASL to expand the Kingston centre to include a clinic and pharmacy as well as other critical areas of service that will benefit many more persons.
“I hope that everyone will continue to work together to ensure the human security of every Jamaican who will use this facility. I urge you all to be resolute, determined and have the will to succeed in all your endeavours. Wherever you may go, and whatever you may do, continue to keep up your own ‘must-achieve’ spirit,” he said
Vice Chair, JASL, Dr. Althea Bailey, said the newly renovated building will assist the organisation to significantly improve client service delivery.
She said the JASL now supports 637 persons living with HIV, with another 3,500 persons accessing services across the entity’s three locations.
“For the past two years, JASL was able to provide skills training for over 300 persons, a number of whom have since gotten employment; provided nutritional support for over 1,000 individuals; and conducted HIV tests to over 30,000 persons,” she said, adding that human rights and advocacy programmes have also been provided.
Jamaica AIDS Support for Life (JASL), which was founded in 1991, is the longest serving NGO, offering full-service HIV education, treatment, care and support in a non-stigmatising and non-discriminatory environment from offices in Kingston, St. Ann’s Bay and Montego Bay.
JASL also provides advocacy for an enabling environment and preservation of the human rights and dignity of those most vulnerable to the HIV virus.
Source: JIS News