Monday, September 22, 2008

Sudanese Federal Minister of Health, Dr. Tabitha Butrous Shokaya: Her Achievements Tell Her Personality

Dr. Tabitha Butrous Shokaya, Minister of Health: Her Achievements Tell Her Personality

Sudan Vision Daily

Dr. Tabitha Butrous Shokaya, Federal Minister of Health who holds a Ph.D. in Nursing from Birmingham University in the United Kingdom, returned to Sudan after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that was signed on January 9th 2005. She was appointed Minister of Health in the National Unity Government.

She is the first Christian woman to hold the post. Her job was one of the four Cabinet Ministries awarded to the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in the peace deal.

Since her appointment as Minister of Health, she exerted great efforts in the chronic health issues that stroke the country such as HIV/AIDS, particularly in the border states representing in Kassala, Gedarif, and the Southern States and this is due to the great influx of the refugees from the neighbouring countries.

Her Ministry set up National Health Policy to eradicate diseases such as Malaria, Child six diseases and HIV/AIDS.

In this regard, Dr. Tabitha, Federal Minister of Health, Chairperson of the National AIDS Council warned that young people between the ages 19-49 years are mostly targeted by the diseases, calling on the mass media to intensify the awareness campaigns in order to contain the disease.

Some 600,000 males and females live with HIV/AIDS, half of whom are men aged under 25. As part of her daily efforts being exerted, she chaired on 15th August 2008, the first meeting renewing the political commitment to combat AIDS all through the different sectors of the society.

She affirmed the importance of the integrating of official and popular efforts in order to contain its impact on health and economy of Sudan.

The National AIDS Council, whose membership includes Ministers, and State Ministers, issued a number of recommendations in order to assist in combating AIDS according to the articles of the CPA.

Statistics show that 60,000 children are orphaned by AIDS in Sudan. Another 300,000 children are orphaned by AIDS in Sudan and another 300,000 children under 18, are HIV positive and if the curve continues to grow it may have an entire generation that is HIV positive.

Dr. Tabitha Butrous Shokaya, has extended her efforts among Muslims as well as Christians.

She monthly calls on churches in the country’s capital to increase awareness of HIV/AIDS among the congregations and Sudan Radio Service, explaining that the country cannot afford to lose young people to the virus, adding that the country is in need of youth to build the new Sudan.

Shokaya affirmed that the Ministry of Health will work in collaboration with other stakeholders to ensure access to antiretroviral drugs for HIV-positive people in Sudan. She also called on people not to discriminate against people living with the virus, adding that everyone is responsible for knowing first her or his HIV status.

Dr. Tabitha continues her efforts digging down in the health issues as an implementation of the National Health policy that is drawn from and built on the 25 year health strategy and existing policies related to reproductive health, child health,

HIV/AIDS and the national drug policy, the extended primary health care package and the 10-year human resource strategy.
Roll Back Malaria and stopping of TB and the Global strategy for prevention and control of sexually transmitted infection including HIV/AIDS are issues highly tackled and hammered by the Ministry of Health.

Since her appointment as Minister of Health, Dr. Tabitha has realized noticeable achievement at the federal level as well as in the states, representing in opening and supporting hospital at the states. Recently the Minister of Health declared her commitment to provide equipments for hospitals in Al Fasher, North Darfur at a cost of US$ 40 million.

Dr. Tabitha expressed her strong support to include midwives in the civil service, explaining their distinguished role in the health sector, and as part of the interest and concern of the Minister of Health with the different categories in the health field.

As one of the most important achievements of Dr. Tabitha is her recent decree to make treatment free at the different government mental hospitals and child surgical operations.

On social and humanitarian part, Dr. Tabitha has greatly contributed in the social occasions with the different sectors. She expressed her strong and deep admiration of Sudanese singer, she received Mohamed Al Amin the prominent Sudanese singer, when he returned from London after his sick tour in the United Kingdom.

She participated in the funeral of the Sudanese prominent Singer Osman Hussein who passed away recently.

This is beside her other known and unknown contributions in the society indicating her sociable character and personality.

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