VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND WOMEN'S AND CHILDREN'S HEALTH ARE PRIORITY INTERVENTIONS
CARICOM Secretariat -- CARICOM Heads of the Government have agreed to champion the Every Caribbean Woman Every Caribbean Child (ECWECC) initiative and other activities focussed on addressing violence against women and women's and children's health.
The ECWECC initiative revolves around opportunities to improve the lives of women, children and adolescents. It focuses on four priority issues: teenage pregnancy; violence against women and children (including trafficking in persons); cervical cancer and mother to child transmission of HIV (MTCT) in the Caribbean.
Assembling for their 28th Inter-sessional Meeting on 16-17 February, in Guyana, the Heads received a report on the initiative from Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Hon. Gaston Browne. Prime Minister Browne had earlier attended the Forum of CARICOM First Ladies and Spouses on the EWECC initiative, hosted by Guyana's First Lady Ms. Sandra Granger, at the Marriott Hotel on 16 February 2017.
At that Forum, the prime minister addressed the gathering of First Ladies and Spouses, government officials, the UN Special Envoy for HIV and AIDS in the Caribbean, Dr. Edward Greene, UN and other agencies, the Gilead Sciences Inc., among others.
The prime minister cited the less than flattering state of play in the Region as it related to the referenced issues, and called for urgent "remedial action" and an accelerated response.
"We leaders of the region must accelerate our response to meaningfully tackle these problems that severely threaten to undermine our human development and contribution of our most precious human resources —our women, girls and children— to the development of this region", he said; adding that "the economic costs of inattention to the priorities of ECWECC Initiative [will] be staggering".
In July 2016, the Hon. Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis who has lead responsibility for Human Resources, Health and HIV brought the priorities of EWECC to the attention of Heads of Government meeting for their 37th Regular Meeting in Georgetown, Guyana. That meeting endorsed the initiative.