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Andrea Downer

Andrea Downer is a Jamaican journalist based in Kingston. She specialises in health reporting, especially the issue of HIV/AIDS. Andrea has won several national and international awards, including the Press Association of Jamaica’s Investigative Journalist of the Year Award in 2003 and at least 12 awards from the United Nations for her work in health reporting. She also works with Panos Caribbean training journalists in the Caribbean to report development issues.

Journalism by Andrea Downer

Soap opera to tackle climate change


The producers of the Caribbean’s first radio soap opera to address climate change know a thing or two about extreme weather. Recording for the pilot series of My Island, My Community had to be put on hold after Hurricane Tomas destroyed their offices in St Lucia in November.

Christmas for the children in the HIV clinic


Every year for the last three years a group of influential women made up of locals and expatriates gets together to raise money for the children in the hospital who are HIV positive or who have cancer. The proceeds go towards getting Christmas presents for the children. Our social worker becomes Santa’s helper and gets a wishlist…

It takes a team to tackle HIV


My work in HIV takes up a lot of my time, but it’s not all that I do. I am also a mother and wife and in spite of all I do at work, I always try to make time for my family. I am married and I have two boys, 10 and seven years…

Today we found a missing baby


Today I found a very important baby – a baby my team and I had been trying to find for a year. This was one of the last of the 18 HIV positive babies that had gone missing after their mothers stopped bringing them into our HIV clinic for treatment. We now only have one…

My HIV research was a catalyst for action


Research plays a crucial role in advancing HIV care, treatment and prevention. As doctors, we carry out research so that we can show it to the people who have the power to change things. Back in 1990s there were no paediatric HIV clinics in Jamaica – and there was no research on paediatric HIV in the country. I…

The bleak days before HIV treatment


When I started working in HIV peadiatric care in 1995 at the Bustamante Children’s Hospital in Kingston there was no HIV medication available in Jamaica to give to babies born HIV positive. The most we could do for the babies was treat the infections brought on by the HIV virus, manage their nutrition and try…

I had to prove hundreds of babies were dying


HIV work is my purpose. I can’t separate HIV from my personal life. It’s who I am and what I’m called to do. I always knew I wanted to be a doctor. It’s a dream I had cherished from when I was really small. As a little girl, I had a toy stethoscope. I was…

HIV and men who have sex with men


Are world governments in denial about the crisis facing MSMs?

Andrea Downer