Region to host First Caribbean Congress on Adolescent and Youth Health

Friday 4 October 2019 (First Caribbean Congress on Adolescent and Youth Health):  Young people[1]/have been identified as critical to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including SDG 3 – Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages. The SDGs’ agenda and the Global Strategy for the health of Women, Children and Adolescent (GSWCAH, 2016 – 2030)[2]/ bring new commitments and mandates that directly affect the positioning of young people in the global and regional health and development agenda.

According to 2015 estimates, there are 10.8 million young people (10-24 years) in the Caribbean, representing 25% of the total population, and 7.2 million adolescents (10-19 years), representing 17% of the total population. The Region continues to recognise the disparities in the burden of poverty, underemployment and unemployment, secondary school enrolment and completion rates, as well as the financial and societal barriers young people face to access health information and quality health services that respond to their needs. Additionally, there are especially vulnerable youth who face additional levels of marginalisation, such as adolescents with disabilities, HIV positive youth, migrant and socially-displaced adolescents, and those who identify along the LGBTQI spectrum.

It is against this backdrop that the Region will host the first Caribbean Congress on Adolescent and Youth Health in Port-of-Spain, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on 15 – 17 October 2019.  The theme of the Congress is  “Championing our wealth: promoting the health and well-being of adolescents and youth in the Caribbean.”

Her Excellency Paula-Mae Weekes ORTT, President of Trinidad and Tobago will be the feature speaker.  Ms Kim Simplis-Barrow, First Lady of Belize and Chair, Spouses of CARICOM Leaders Action Network (SCLAN), Hon. Terrence Deyalsingh, Minister of Health, Trinidad and Tobago,
Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, CARICOM Secretary-General and Dr Carissa F. Etienne, PAHO Director are expected to deliver remarks during the opening ceremony on 14 October 2019 at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad, Port-of-Spain.

The congress which is organised by a consortium of regional partners, including youth leaders, is expected to increase awareness on issues that are negatively affecting the health and well-being of adolescent and youth in the Caribbean. It is anticipated that the Congress will help to mobilise greater investment for the promotion and protection of the health and well-being of all adolescents and young people in the Caribbean.

Approximately two hundred participants are expected to attend including youth from around the Caribbean, CARICOM Youth Ambassadors, youth from within key populations, youth development leaders,  public health leaders, social activists, and regional civil society representatives.

The congress is structured to ensure that the voices and concerns of youth in the region are heard through their active participation as organisers of special sessions, moderators, and panellists. The congress will also encompass building the capacity of youths to advocate for issues related to adolescent and youth health at the regional and country-level through increased knowledge and awareness of current best practices, new tools and skill sets applicable to the region.

The Congress is expected to result in regional commitment from participants on a vision and core principles to address the health needs of adolescents and youth ages 10 – 24 years in the Caribbean, as well as action plans based on current and emerging priorities for adolescent and youth health.

The event will serve as an impetus for policymakers to begin the discussion on how to improve and sustain investments in the health and well-being of adolescents and youth in the Caribbean.

– ENDS –

Contact:
Timothy Austin
Communications Specialist
PANCAP Coordinating Unit
CARICOM Secretariat
Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana
Email:      taustin.consultant@caricom.org
Tel: (592) 222-0001-75, Ext. 3409  | Visit www.PANCAP.org

Helpful links:

Editor’s notes

Partners

A consortium of regional partners has collaborated to plan and support the Caribbean Congress on Adolescent and Youth Health. These include the Caribbean Association for Adolescent Health, International Association for Adolescent Health, Caribbean Institute for Health Research, Caribbean Development Bank, Caribbean Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health and Sustainable Development’s Youth Campaign, PANCAP Youth Advocacy Network, Caribbean Regional Youth Council, NCD Child, Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), CARICOM Youth Department, Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP), Commonwealth Youth Council, Spouses of CARICOM Leaders Action Network (SCLAN), Dance4Life Barbados, CARICOM Youth Ambassador Corps, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Family Planning Association of Trinidad and Tobago (FPATT), International Planned Parenthood Federation/WHR,United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC).


[1]/     Youth or being young refers to the period from childhood to adulthood. Definitions of a specific age range vary as youth is not defined chronologically. For statistical purposes, the age range used is primarily 15-24 years but countries in the Caribbean apply various ranges from 10-35 years old.
[2]/         The preparation of the Strategy was facilitated by Every Woman Every Child, a multistakeholder Strategy and Coordination Group facilitated by the Executive Office of the United Nations Secretary-General.

Senator The Honourable Mary Isaac selected to serve as Board Member for Latin America and Caribbean Constituency of The Global Fund Board

Image: Senator The Honourable Mary Isella Isaac, Minister of Health and Wellness, Saint Lucia and Chair of the OECS RCM

Monday 30 September 2019 (PANCAP Coordinating Unit, CARICOM Secretariat):  Senator The Honourable Mary Isella Isaac, Minister of Health and Wellness, Saint Lucia and Chair of the OECS RCM was selected to serve as Board Member for the Latin America and Caribbean Constituency of The Global Fund Board for the period 1 November 2019 – 31 October 2021 during the 37th Meeting of the CARICOM Council for Human and Social Development – Ministers of Health, which was held on 28-29 September at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Headquarters, Washington, D.C., USA.

The Partnership extends congratulations to Senator Isaac on her appointment.

Click here to read Senator Isaac’s biography.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines National Faith Leaders Consultation

Tuesday 24 September 2019 (PANCAP Coordinating Unit, CARICOM Secretariat): The Pan-Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP) in collaboration with the St. Vincent and the Grenadines National AIDS Programme (NAP), with funding from the CARIFORUM 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Programme of Support for Wider Caribbean Cooperation, will host the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Faith Leaders Consultation at Sunset Shores, 849 Villa Beach,  St. Vincent & Grenadines on the 25 and 26 September 2019.

This consultation is a follow-up to a series of engagements with faith leaders under the PANCAP Justice for All programme at the regional level. The consultation will facilitate the development of a national action plan for advancing faith leaders’ implementation of key elements of the Justice for All programme in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Participants will include 50 faith leaders representing the St. Vincent and the Grenadines religious community.

The action plan is geared towards ending AIDS and providing psychosocial support to those infected and affected by HIV. It will also identify the lessons learned from implementing the UNAIDS Fast Track goals; establishing recommendations for improving the collaboration between the religious community and the national AIDS Programme and civil society partners, and setting priorities and timelines for achieving goals.

Speakers scheduled for the Forum include Hon. Robert Theodore Luke Vincent Browne, Minister of Health, Wellness, and the Environment, St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Reverend Courtney Adolf Davis, Minister, Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas (MCCA); Dr. Edward Greene, PANCAP Special Advisor; and Ms. Ferosa Roache, Director, National HIV and AIDS Programme.

– ENDS –

 What is PANCAP?

PANCAP is a Caribbean regional partnership of governments, regional civil society organisations, regional institutions and organisations, bilateral and multilateral agencies and contributing donor partners which was established on 14 February 2001. PANCAP provides a structured and unified approach to the Caribbean’s response to the HIV epidemic, coordinates the response through the Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework on HIV and AIDS to maximize efficient use of resources and increase impact, mobilises resources and build capacity of partners.

  • 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Programme of Support for Wider Caribbean Cooperation

Under the 10th (EDF) Programme of Support for Wider Caribbean Cooperation, PANCAP will strengthen coordination on human rights issues in keeping with the Justice For all Roadmap through the HIV and AIDS Thematic Task Force in CARIFORUM.

  • CARIFORUM

CARIFORUM refers to the Grouping of Caribbean States which are signatories of the Georgetown Agreement establishing the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP). The ACP grouping is composed of 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific states.

CARIFORUM is the recipient of and manages the implementation of Caribbean Regional Indicative Programmes financed by the EDF and Caribbean regional programmes financed by individual Member States of the European Union. It also provides technical assistance to agencies/institutions implementing projects under these programmes.

European Union

The Member States of the European Union have decided to link together their know-how, resources and destinies. Together, they have built a zone of stability, democracy and sustainable development whilst maintaining cultural diversity, tolerance and individual freedoms. The European Union is committed to sharing its achievements and its values with countries and peoples beyond its borders’.

Background to the PANCAP Justice for All (JFA) Roadmap

The PANCAP Justice for All (JFA) Programme was established in September 2013 as a regional response to the UN High-Level Political Declaration (June 2011) designed to reduce AIDS-related stigma and discrimination. The objectives of the JFA Roadmap are

  • Enhancing family life and focusing on those in need
  • Increasing access to treatment and affordable medicines
  • Reducing gender inequality including violence against women, girls and adolescents
  • Promoting prevention with special reference to sexual and reproductive health and rights including age-appropriate sexual education
  • Implementing legislative reforms for modifying AIDS-related stigma and discrimination

Stakeholders urged to work together for the common good of humanity

Tuesday 10 September 2019 (PANCAP Coordinating Unit, CARICOM Secretariat): The Pan-Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP), the mechanism that provides a structured and unified approach to the Caribbean’s response to the HIV epidemic, convened the Second joint regional dialogue with parliamentarians, faith leaders, civil society leaders, national AIDS programme managers and youth leaders in Port-of-Spain, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on 10 September 2019.

Mr Ian Ramdahin Permanent Secretary (ag), Secretariat of the National AIDS Coordinating Committee (NACC), Office of the Prime Minister, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago delivered remarks on behalf of Hon Ayana Webster-Roy, Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, holding the portfolios of Gender and Child Affairs, Ecclesiastical Affairs and Central Administration Services, Tobago.

Mr Ramdahin emphasised that as the 2020 juncture for reporting on how each country and the region, as a whole, would have performed regarding the 2020 targets set by UNAIDS, assessing progress with responses to date in combatting HIV and AIDS is of paramount importance.  He noted this will highlight and influence the adjustments required to chart the new roadmap for guiding the level of scale-up necessary for achieving the more significant target of “Ending AIDS by 2030.”

The permanent secretary praised PANCAP for the concerted effort in mobilising and engaging the key stakeholders comprising Parliamentarians, Faith Leaders, Civil Society Leaders, National AIDS Programme (NAP) Managers and Youth Leaders.  He stated that these stakeholders have important and influential roles in determining how we protect those who are most vulnerable to HIV; and care, treat and respect those who are living with HIV and AIDS.  “I must commend PANCAP for establishing the mechanisms for monitoring the arrangements in place for responding to the HIV disease, which allows us to gauge and report on the progress to date,” stated Mr Ramdahin, “Through PANCAP’s sustained efforts, we are able to identify and re-evaluate the areas in need of redress or further collaboration, and ensure that there is ongoing follow-up action”.

Mr Ramdahin further stated that “in aiming for our target of an AIDS-free world by 2030, where new infections are almost negligible, we must remember at the heart of this global campaign is the “protection of the dignity of Human Rights”, which is critical for attaining our Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”.

He noted that geopolitical instability, escalating impacts of climate change and unanticipated financial hurdles are impacting negatively to cause shifting of the disease burden and straining the Region’s ability to mobilize the much-needed resources to mount an effective response.  “We can all agree that if we are to collectively work together towards the goal of ending AIDS by 2030, introspection at the ‘individual and regional governance levels’ are necessary for fostering ‘greater collaboration’ among all stakeholders”, stated Mr Ramdahin.

He further emphasised that in achieving this state of “greater collaboration”, it is incumbent that part of the focus of the Second regional dialogue must be centred around conversations that are geared towards aligning synergies for creating a more diversely inclusive environment that is free of biases, mistrust, phobias, stigma and discrimination, especially at the national and regional levels, where we can more efficiently identify tools and strategies to augment “communication and collaboration” of a richer and deeper quality.

“Today’s forum represents a great opportunity for individuals and their organizations to network and examine societal norms, attitudes and value systems that manifest as communication barriers, which ultimately impede the HIV and AIDS response at the national and regional levels,” stated the permanent secretary, “based on my experience, I would have learnt that the key to the success of any response, be it an oil spill response, natural disaster response or a response to an epidemic such as HIV is rooted in the people who inspire, shape, drive and manoeuvre the response. People are the main determinants in any response and can either make it or break it”.

He reminded the participants that they are the ones who have been empowered to determine the fate of the region as it pertains to HIV and AIDS.  He urged stakeholders to rise to their call of duty and make meaningful contributions for ensuring the removal of all of the barriers for achieving the goal of ending AIDS by 2030.

He stated, “Please be cautioned that if we fail to unmask or decode the barriers because of our personal biases on human rights, the net result will be that we will fail to effectively strategize and fail to meet the diverse needs of our vulnerable groups within the landscape of the response”.

The permanent secretary warned that if key populations vulnerable to HIV are allowed to go unchecked, untreated and unsupported in any country, then society as a whole will ultimately suffer. He stated that the region recognises that HIV and AIDS are a critical development problem which affects the quality of life, labour, families, communities and the national economy – in the present and future. “We do not want to be in this state, so let us all work together for the common good of humanity”, stated Mr Ramdahin.

He further emphasised that the Region can rest assured that the improvements expressed and gains achieved thus far, as well as the forthcoming recommendations, will not only serve to foster an efficient and sustained response to HIV and AIDS within the region but also contribute to other areas that impact on communities’ health and wellbeing.

He challenged participants to take a deep insightful look at the PANCAP’s Justice-For-All programme, which encompasses the adoption of the CARICOM Model Anti-Discrimination Legislation 2012; give due consideration to recommendations that will improve the mechanisms for enhanced inter-regional collaboration within CARICOM member States; and take into consideration the targets established by the United Nations High-Level Meeting Political Declaration June 2016 on ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030; the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) approved by 192 nations at the United Nations in September 2015; and the commitments made by  civil society, faith-based and other implementing stakeholder groups.

“Despite the successes to date, let us not become complacent or despondent about the world economic and financial downturns. We are here on a mission and tasked with ascertaining “innovative ways” for addressing how to sustain our responses for ending HIV and AIDS by 2030” stated Mr Ramdahin.

He further stated that the future goal of ending AIDS by 2030 is achievable and will only be sustained through the collective efforts of Parliamentarians, Faith Leaders, Civil Society Leaders, Youth and National AIDS Programme (NAP) Managers working in harmony to ensure open, honest and consistent dialogue and collaboration to unlock and overcome the barriers for achieving our regional and international goals.

“In making your respective contributions at this second Regional Dialogue, please be guided by CARICOM’s Vision statement which proposes a “Caribbean Community that is integrated, inclusive and resilient; driven by knowledge, excellence, innovation and productivity; a Community where every citizen is secure and has the opportunity to realise his or her potential with guaranteed human rights and social justice; and contributes to, and shares in, its economic, social and cultural prosperity; a Community which is a unified and competitive force in the global arena,” stated Mr Mr Ramdahin.

He advised that a vision is needed to start the process of charting the course and invited stakeholders to keep this vision in mind as they deliberate on the joint National and Regional Level Policy Formulation and Activities for advancing the short, medium and long term goals of the PANCAP’s Justice For All Roadmap.

“Despite the obstacles and challenges currently faced by many countries in the region, I would like to re-affirm Trinidad and Tobago’s commitment towards establishing an enabling environment for meeting the 90-90-90 Targets in 2020 and continued support for programmatic activities thereafter for ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030,” stated the PS.

He highlighted that the Second Dialogue represents yet another step in the way forward for laying the foundations for increasing engagement and promoting solidarity among stakeholder groups and the persons we serve.

Mr Ramdahin thanked the stakeholders for their unwavering commitment and engagement in the regional dialogue. He stated “the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.  Let us wisely deliberate to strategise our next steps to determine the response tools and mechanisms for achieving the desired results.  I truly believe that an AIDS-free generation is certainly within our reach, but we must remain loyal and work in tandem with PANCAP to achieve the goals set before us”.

 In opening remarks, Director of PANCAP, Dereck Springer, reflected on the First Joint Regional Dialogue held in April 2018 which brought together Parliamentarians representing Government and Opposition, Members of the Regional Faith Leaders Steering Committee and other selected Faith Leaders, Regional Civil Society Leaders who work with Key Populations, members of the PANCAP Youth Advocacy Steering Committee and National AIDS Programme Managers.

The Director noted that the stakeholders of the first regional dialogue held in April 2018 provided recommendations including the need to create guidelines for respectful dialogue between key populations leaders and faith leaders.  In response, PANCAP prepared general principles designed to assist and support respectful dialogue between and among stakeholders, especially in cases where discussions are centered on sensitive and controversial issues. These include discussions that may involve social, cultural and doctrinal issues in conflict with each other.

Another recommendation from the first dialogue was the review and revision of the PANCAP Justice for all (JFA) Roadmap (2014) in light of developments over the last five years.  In response, PANCAP, with inputs from various stakeholders’ dialogue, revised the JFA Roadmap

The Director of PANCAP also highlighted that during the 2018 meeting, faith leaders indicated that they could not endorse the UNESCO Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) models since they were unfamiliar with them.  To improve their understanding, PANCAP developed nine infographics which illustrate the key components of the CSE models.

The Director further explained that the Second Regional Dialogue is positioned within the new Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework on HIV and AIDS (CRSF) 2019 – 2025. He emphasised that the CRSF articulates the vision, goals, objectives, strategic priorities and key strategies which will guide the Region’s HIV response over the next six years.  “We are moving closer to ending AIDS, so we need all hands on deck,” stated Mr Springer, “With that in mind, we are required to be bold and innovative as reflected by the strategies within the CRSF 2019-2025.

The meeting applauded the Director’s announcement of the award of the US$6,500.00 for the Multi-country Caribbean grant for PANCAP, the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC) and the Centro de Orientación e Investigación Integral (COIN) by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria from October 2019 to September 2022. He noted that the new grant is unique since it is a joint PANCAP-CVC-COIN collaboration.  “The Grant is a demonstration of the collaboration between Governments and civil society partners,” stated Mr Springer, “it illustrates the critical need for us to ensure that we position civil society as key partners within the HIV response”.

Dr John Waters, Programme Manager, CVC delivered remarks on behalf Mr Ivanhoe Cruikshank, Executive Director, CVC.  He briefly reflected on the progress made on documenting human rights abuses.  He stated that this has been a priority of CVC and its partners since human rights abuses involving vulnerable groups are not given the attention they deserve. He highlighted that CVC has developed the Shared Incident Database (SID) for systematically documenting abuses and has provided the impetus for vulnerable groups to report and speak out against stigma and discrimination.

Dr Waters explained that CVC currently has in excess of 40 civil society partners registered with SID that are documenting human rights abuses throughout the Region.  He also highlighted CVC’s dedicated team of community paralegals who were trained to assist in the documentation of human rights abuse cases.  Dr Waters also highlighted that CVC has created a cohort of human rights lawyers who champion cases involving vulnerable groups and discrimination. He emphasised that these initiatives have resulted in progress with regard to CVC’s engagement with policymakers and Governments.  He stated, “We are beginning to see some tangible results in achieving justice for all”.

– ENDS –

What is PANCAP?

PANCAP is a Caribbean regional partnership of governments, regional civil society organisations, regional institutions and organisations, bilateral and multilateral agencies and contributing donor partners which was established on 14 February 2001. PANCAP provides a structured and unified approach to the Caribbean’s response to the HIV epidemic, coordinates the response through the Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework on HIV and AIDS to maximise efficient use of resources and increase impact, mobilises resources and build capacity of partners.

What are the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 90-90-90 Targets?

  • By 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status.
  • By 2020, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy.
  • By 2020, 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.

Contact:

Timothy Austin
Communications Specialist
PANCAP Coordinating Unit
CARICOM Secretariat
Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana
Email:      taustin.consultant@caricom.org
Tel: (592) 222-0001-75, Ext. 3409  | Visit www.PANCAP.org

Helpful links:

  • Joint Regional Dialogue with Faith Leaders, Parliamentarians, Civil Society Leaders, National AIDS Programme Managers and Youth Leaders

https://pancap.org/pancap-events/joint-regional-dialogue-with-faith-leaders-parliamentarians-civil-society-leaders-national-aids-programme-managers-and-youth-leaders/

  • Global AIDS Update 2018 – Miles to Go:

https://pancap.org/pancap-documents/global-aids-update-2018-miles-to-go/

Diverse group of regional stakeholders to discuss strategies for fostering collaboration for ending AIDS

Wednesday 4 September 2019 (PANCAP Coordinating Unit, CARICOM Secretariat): The Pan-Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP), the mechanism that provides a structured and unified approach to the Caribbean’s response to the HIV epidemic, will convene the Second joint regional dialogue with parliamentarians, faith leaders, civil society leaders, national AIDS programme managers and youth leaders in Port-of-Spain, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on 10 September 2019. The theme of the event is “Assessing progress towards ending AIDS”.

 According to Director of PANCAP, Dereck Springer, the Dialogue will provide an update on the implementation of recommendations that emanated from the first Regional Dialogue held in April 2018.  Stakeholders will also explore personal values and attitudes that may contribute to reinforcing differences or fostering an environment that supports diversity.

The Director further explained that the five stakeholder groups – Parliamentarians, Faith Leaders, Civil Society Leaders, National AIDS Programme Managers and Youth Leaders – would be involved in interactive sessions which will allow them to discuss and propose options on the way forward for each stakeholder group, including areas for collaboration with other stakeholder groups beyond the current Global Fund grant.

“Conscious that there remain challenges with differences among some stakeholder groups, the Regional Dialogue will provide a space to allow stakeholders to explore their personal values and divergent views, as well as the implicit biases that serve as barriers to communication with and acceptance of different groups,” stated the PANCAP Director.  He further highlighted that through group discussions stakeholders would clarify their values, identify the challenges and responses required to overcome the gaps in trust, diversity and social identity that currently exist among stakeholders.

The PANCAP Director emphasised that the Dialogue will seek to ascertain from stakeholder groups what is needed to develop positive attitudes to diverse social identities, such as men who have sex with men, transgender persons, sex workers, persons who use drugs, migrants and persons with disabilities.

In addition, the five stakeholder groups will be involved in identifying strategies for fostering collaboration for ending AIDS, areas for cooperation between stakeholders and support needs for advancing stakeholders’ work at the national level.

Participants will include Parliamentarians representing Government and Opposition, Members of the Regional Faith Leaders Steering Committee and other selected Faith Leaders, Regional Civil Society Leaders who work with Key Populations, members of the PANCAP Youth Advocacy Steering Committee and National AIDS Programme Managers.

-ENDS –

What is PANCAP?

PANCAP is a Caribbean regional partnership of governments, regional civil society organisations, regional institutions and organisations, bilateral and multilateral agencies and contributing donor partners which was established on 14 February 2001. PANCAP provides a structured and unified approach to the Caribbean’s response to the HIV epidemic, coordinates the response through the Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework on HIV and AIDS to maximise efficient use of resources and increase impact, mobilises resources and build capacity of partners.

What are the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 90-90-90 Targets?

  • By 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status.
  • By 2020, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy.
  • By 2020, 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.

Contact:

Timothy Austin

Communications Specialist

PANCAP Coordinating Unit

CARICOM Secretariat

Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana

Email:      taustin.consultant@caricom.org

Tel: (592) 222-0001-75, Ext. 3409  | Visit www.PANCAP.org

Helpful links:

  • Joint Regional Dialogue with Faith Leaders, Parliamentarians, Civil Society Leaders, National AIDS Programme Managers and Youth Leaders

https://pancap.org/pancap-events/joint-regional-dialogue-with-faith-leaders-parliamentarians-civil-society-leaders-national-aids-programme-managers-and-youth-leaders/

  • Global AIDS Update 2018 – Miles to Go:

https://pancap.org/pancap-documents/global-aids-update-2018-miles-to-go/

PANCAP-CVC-COIN awarded Multi-country Caribbean Global Fund Grant

On 16 August, the Board of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria approved a USD$6.5 Million Multi-country Caribbean grant for PANCAP-CVC-COIN.  The CARICOM Secretariat will serve as the Principal Recipient while PANCAP, CVC and COIN will serve as Sub-Recipients. The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA),  the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Cuban National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX) are Sub-sub-recipients.

The grant, titled “Sustainability of services for key populations in the Caribbean” will commence on 1 October 2019 and will end on 30 September 2022.  Men who have sex with men (MSM), Sex workers and Transgender people are direct beneficiaries of the grant which will be shared by ten counties, namely Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

The Goal of the grant is to Provide Sustainable Prevention, Treatment and Care Services for Key Populations in the Caribbean Region.

Four strategies will be pursued to achieve the goal of the grant. These are:

  • Increase domestic resources for effective key population programming
  • Mobilise resources for key population organisations
  • Reduce structural barriers to key population services including stigma and discrimination and gender-based violence
  • Improve knowledge generation and use of strategic information on key populations for decision-making and advocacy by communities and other stakeholders.

The key activities are geared toward programmes to reduce human rights-related barriers to HIV services – HIV and HIV/TB related legal services; and community responses and systems, institutional capacity building, planning and leadership development.

The Global Fund deemed the overall programme to be technically sound and strategically focused as it demonstrates added value from a multi-country approach, compared to a country-specific approach, leveraging existing regional partnerships and structures.

Antigua and Barbuda National Faith Leaders Consultation

Friday 16 August 2019 (PANCAP Coordinating Unit, CARICOM Secretariat): The Pan-Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP) in collaboration with the Antigua and Barbuda National AIDS Programme Secretariat (NAPS), with funding from the CARIFORUM 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Programme of Support for Wider Caribbean Cooperation, will host the Antigua and Barbuda Faith Leaders Consultation at the Heritage Quay Hotel, St John’s Antigua on Monday 19 August 2019.

This consultation is a follow-up to a series of engagements with faith leaders under the PANCAP Justice for All programme at the regional level. The consultation will facilitate the development of a national action plan for advancing faith leaders’ implementation of key elements of the Justice for All programme in Antigua and Barbuda. Participants will include 50 faith leaders representing the Antigua and Barbuda religious community.

The action plan is geared towards ending AIDS and providing psychosocial support to those infected and affected by HIV. It will also identify the lessons learned from implementing the UNAIDS Fast Track goals; establishing recommendations for improving the collaboration between the religious community and the national AIDS Programme and civil society partners, and setting priorities and timelines for achieving goals.

Speakers scheduled for the Forum include Bishop Rudolph Harris, Second Vice President, Antigua and Barbuda Evangelic Alliance Zion Church of God, Dr Carson Greene, President Seventh-day Adventist Church, South Leeward Conference, Mr Dereck Springer, Director of PANCAP, and Dr Edward Greene, PANCAP Special Advisor.

.

Youths commit to challenging the barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health services

Wednesday 31 July, 2019 (PANCAP Coordinating Unit, CARICOM Secretariat): The Pan-Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP), the mechanism that provides a structured and unified approach to the Caribbean’s response to the HIV epidemic, convened the Third Regional Meeting of Youth Leaders on Sexual and Reproductive Health and HIV and AIDS on 30 July 2019 in Port-of-Spain, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

The forum will facilitate the drafting of a roadmap with strategies for sustaining youth advocacy for the promotion of gender equality, HIV prevention, actions to end gender-based violence and access to quality sexual reproductive health (SRH) services to meet the needs of adolescents and youth regardless of disability, age, citizenship, gender identity and sexual orientation.

In opening remarks, Director of PANCAP, Dereck Springer reflected on the creation and relevance of the Caribbean Regional Youth Advocacy Framework (CRYAF) on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.  “After developing the CRYAF with input from youth, we recognized that it was important to build youth leaders’ advocacy skills so that they would be better prepared to advocate at the regional and national levels”, stated the Director. “This was done during the second meeting of youth leaders, and the approach was successful as we now have a dynamic group of young people who are passionate and innovative in their approach to advocacy”.

Mr Springer stated that PANCAP has been supporting youth leaders to advocate at the regional level, which included funding for youths to engage in regional forums with Ministers of Health and Education.  PANCAP also supported youth leaders’ participation in the Joint Regional Dialogue with Faith Leaders, Parliamentarians, Civil Society Leaders and National AIDS Programme Managers.  A presentation by youth leaders advocating for access to sexual and reproductive health services was also positively received at the Meeting of the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD).

The PANCAP Director praised the development of action plans by the youth body.  “I was impressed that youth leaders recognized the need to adapt their advocacy approach from the regional to the national platform,” stated Mr Springer,  “I was also impressed by the reports of all the advocacy work implemented at the national level which called attention to issues concerning adolescents’ health and rights, gender equality, HIV prevention, actions to end gender-based violence and access to quality sexual reproductive health (SRH) services to meet the needs of adolescents and youth”.

He also encouraged youths to continue utilizing digital platforms, including social media, to propagate their advocacy messages.  “I am proud when I see our youths utilizing innovation to provoke responses on issues which they are passionate about,” stated the PANCAP Director, “continue to use the technology available to remain visible”.  He outlined the plethora of new knowledge which will be gained by youths during the meeting and urged participants to utilize the new skills to collaborate and heighten sexual and reproductive health advocacy across the region.

In her remarks, Ms Renatta Langlais, Member, PANCAP Steering Committee on Youth Advocacy (PSCYA) praised participants for their consistent commitment to attending PANCAP youth forums and challenged them to utilize the new skills gained within the PSCYA and CARICOM Youth Ambassadors Corps.  “We are here to share and learn from each other, we are here to meaningfully contribute to our healthy development as Caribbean youth,” stated Ms Langlais.

She highlighted that the task of achieving the three main priority areas set by the Caribbean Regional Youth Advocacy Framework in 2017 has been challenging.  These included aligning the age of access to sexual and reproductive health services to the age of sexual consent, introducing Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) to all Caribbean schools and advocating for Gender Neutral Laws and policies to be passed and implemented, especially those protecting the rights of victims of gender-based violence regardless of gender, orientation, race or status.

“Change does not come easily in our Caribbean Society,” stated Ms Langlais “It is difficult to show someone a new path when they are already set in their ways. We all want a healthy society, but many allow prejudice, stereotypes and stigma to block the road to progress”.  However, she praised the progress made by the youth body in formulating goals, indicators, and challenging barriers to SRH services by adolescents and youth.  “We must face obstacles of tradition, apathy, ignorance and lack of political will, head-on.   The road we are travelling is very Caribbean, full of potholes of politics and bigotry; sometimes we fall in them, other times we manage to avoid them”.

She further praised the PANCAP Director and the Partnership for consistent commitment to building the capacity of youth leaders in advocacy and urged participants to utilize collaboration as the key to fostering change and reaching policymakers with advocacy messages.

Ms Terez Lord, CARICOM Youth Ambassador (CYA), Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in her remarks reminded participants of the significance of the CARICOM Youth Ambassador Corps (CYAC). “We, in this room, represent the hopes and the dreams that were born in 1993 when the CYAC was formed.

We hold the hopes of our Heads of Government who created this mechanism that was to be of the young people, for the young people and by the young people”.  She further highlighted that the CYAC was intended to be the catalyst to integrate and infuse the perspectives and solutions proposed by youth across the region into national, regional and international policy and practices.  She also expressed gratitude to PANCAP for supporting youths to fulfil the mandate of the CYAC by building their capacity to advocate at all levels.  She stated “as a unit, we have the strength and we have prowess – but only if we want to.  In the international community, our presence is strong, and our voices are distinct”.

The CYA urged youths to utilize their collective skills to advocate for change. She stated “If collaboration is currency, then perhaps we as CARICOM can indeed have one common currency.  We must be keen on ensuring CARICOM representation so that Heads of Government can recognize our presence, respect our intellect, accept our contributions and implement our recommendations”.

She urged youths to utilize the forum to create innovative, inclusive and impactful recommendations.  “CARICOM Youth Ambassadors are a dynamic group of young people who are always prepared to disrupt old ways, mount a challenge to the status quo and contribute meaningfully and constructively to the sustainable development of our region,” stated Ms Lord.

Keynote speaker, Shaquille Knowles, Chairperson, Caribbean Regional Youth Council (CRYC) praised PANCAP for providing a space for young people to discuss issues affecting youth including universal health and SRH.  He expressed his anticipation for the specific outcomes from the meeting which include the development of practical solutions capable of increasing youth’s access to quality health services, and a commitment to stand up against issues that have prevented adolescents’ access to quality universal health and SRH services.

He expressed his passion for advocating for SRH for adolescents and outlined the challenges affecting adolescents’ access to quality health services which included the inability to afford health services and the stigma associated with receiving health services to treat specific illnesses.   “Unfortunately, as the world continues to revolve without adequately addressing these key challenges within our critical demographic – more adolescents continue to grapple with the challenges with access to services that ‘healthy’ individuals take for granted,” stated the CRYC Chair.

He recounted an experience in which a family member died as a result of inadequate access to preventative health care services.  “This loss of life could have been prevented with adequate resources to properly educate persons on the preventative measures to avoid being infected with HIV and measures to reduce the stigma of HIV within our communities and homes,” stated Mr Knowles.

“I have witnessed continued efforts to reduce the prevalence rate of the HIV and other STIs in the Caribbean thanks to efforts from PANCAP, Ministries of Health and advocates,” stated the CRYC Chair,  “However, we must remain steadfast in transforming the lives of the world’s most critical population by continuing the work to reduce the detrimental effects of a lack of access to universal health services”.

He concluded by challenging participants to use innovation to advocate for adolescents’ access to SRH and to use their platforms to keep health for young people at the top of every policymaker’s agenda.

-ENDS –

What is PANCAP?

PANCAP is a Caribbean regional partnership of governments, regional civil society organisations, regional institutions and organisations, bilateral and multilateral agencies and contributing donor partners which was established on 14 February 2001. PANCAP provides a structured and unified approach to the Caribbean’s response to the HIV epidemic, coordinates the response through the Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework on HIV and AIDS to maximise efficient use of resources and increase impact, mobilises resources and build capacity of partners.

What are the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 90-90-90 Targets?

  • By 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status.
  • By 2020, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy.
  • By 2020, 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.

Contact:

Timothy Austin

Communications Specialist

PANCAP Coordinating Unit

CARICOM Secretariat

Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana

Email:      taustin.consultant@caricom.org

Tel: (592) 222-0001-75, Ext. 3409  | Visit www.PANCAP.org

Editor’s Notes:

Overview of PANCAP Youth Initiatives

The Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework (CRSF) 2014-2018 articulates the vision and collective priorities of Caribbean states through their membership in the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP). The CRSF recognises that resources must be strategically allocated to target the epidemic at regional, country, community and individual levels. Doing so effectively will require establishing and sustaining an enabling environment (Strategic Priority Area 1) by addressing social and cultural drivers of the epidemic and by removing barriers to access sexual and reproductive health information, education and services. In particular, more conscious efforts to address human sexuality are needed in order to equip young people with the regional public goods including knowledge and tools they need for healthy development.

As of 2014, there were 280 000 [210 000–340 000] people living with HIV, 8800 [5700–13 000] AIDS-related deaths among adults, and 44% [33%-54%] of adults living with HIV accessing HIV treatment in the Caribbean. Young people, especially among key populations, in Caribbean are disproportionately at risk of HIV infection, and they face greater barriers to accessing prevention services. According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), HIV prevalence among young people is 0.07% and 0.05% in females and males in the non-Hispanic Caribbean and 0.2% and 0.3% in the Hispanic Caribbean both respectively. In Jamaica, where the data are available, higher estimated HIV prevalence has been reported among gay, men that have sex with men (14%) and transgender adolescent girls (27%).  While the regional response has realised some progress with a 43% reduction among adults and a 90% reduction in children acquiring HIV, gaps and challenges remain.  HIV prevalence remains high among Key Populations (KPs) such as Sex Workers (SW), Men who have Sex with Men (MSM), and young people.  At the same time, challenges regarding stigma and discrimination, violations of human rights and gender-based violence continue to hinder access to services for young people in general.

To work more systematically with young people belonging to KPs who are more difficult to reach, PANCAP/Global Fund grant programme proposed to collaborate with CVC/COIN to link at-risk youth with the CYAP. The CYAP provides a unique platform for leadership development and collaboration that can strengthen the participation of a more diverse and better-informed youth constituency in CARICOM decision-making. This will serve a mutually beneficial purpose of strengthening the relevance and impact of the Youth Ambassadors as well as providing access to high-level CARICOM fora for KP youth, allowing for collaborative approaches to high-level advocacy that better links the issues and priorities of CARICOM to those of young people. This initiative supports the inclusion and participation of some Key Population groups (i.e. PLHIV, MSM, SW and youth) in the regional response addressing the critical gaps given the overwhelming evidence of the main drivers of HIV transmission in these groups.

The First Meeting of Youth Leaders held in April 2017 allowed for in-depth discussion of sexual health issues affecting young people, identified what are barriers to their access to sexual health services, as well as identify what knowledge and tools are required to protect themselves from HIV. The meeting provided input required to develop a regional advocacy framework on key sexual health issues affecting youth and to inform subsequent training to strengthen advocacy skills of regional youth leaders. This has strengthened the inclusion of youth leaders in the regional and national responses to work towards a more coherent and holistic approach to issues affecting youth from key populations and young people living with HIV: the dissonance between the age of sexual initiation (before age 15), prevailing legislation on the age of consent (16 years), and the age for independent access to health care (18 years) with the exception of Jamaica in which age for independent access for health care is 16, the implementation of Comprehensive Sexuality Education in all schools in the Caribbean and Gender-neutral laws that protect victims of sexual exploitation.

The formalization of a Steering Committee on Youth Advocacy and follow up meetings are an innovative approach to mobilise regional youth leaders to actively engage in high-level advocacy and policy dialogues by linking the CYAP with PLHIV youth leaders and other sexual and reproductive health youth activities/leaders.

The Second Meeting of Youth Leaders held in May 2018, provided the opportunity for an in-depth discussion on the achievements and challenges confronted by youth leaders in addressing the three priority areas identified in the Caribbean Regional Youth Advocacy Framework (CRYAF) to set in motion practical advocacy tools and techniques that can be adapted per country context. The meeting served to identify regional and international mechanisms that can be used as best practice models for the achievement of priority objectives, provide the opportunity to exercise advocacy techniques with parliamentarian(s), CSO representation and CYAs through a panel discussion addressed sexual and reproductive health issues and concerns identified by youth leaders. The meeting enabled the adaptation of standardized data collecting and reporting tool used by youth leaders in their respective countries. This informed PANCAP of opportunities to support an innovative approach to mobilize regional youth leaders to actively engage in high-level advocacy, as well as further develop advocacy tools and materials to review and address policies, practices and laws that affect young people’s vulnerabilities to HIV.

Helpful links:

Caribbean Youths to create roadmap to advocate for Sexual Reproductive Health Services for adolescents and youth

Image: Kevin Mendez, Chair, PANCAP Youth Advocacy Steering Committee

Thursday 25 July, 2019 (PANCAP Coordinating Unit, CARICOM Secretariat): The Pan-Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP), the mechanism that provides a structured and unified approach to the Caribbean’s response to the HIV epidemic, will convene the Third Regional Meeting of Youth Leaders: Sexual and Reproductive Health and HIV and AIDS on 30 July – 2 August 2019 in Port-of-Spain, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

The meeting comes approximately one year after the Second Meeting of Youth Leaders and 18 months ahead of the 2020 deadline for reaching the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 90-90-90 Targets—90% of people living with HIV diagnosed, 90% of diagnosed people on treatment and 90% of those on treatment virally suppressed.

Regional youth leaders will be involved in drafting a roadmap with strategies for sustaining youth advocacy for the promotion of gender equality, HIV prevention, actions to end gender-based violence and access to quality sexual reproductive health (SRH) services to meet the needs of adolescents and youth regardless of disability, age, citizenship, gender identity and sexual orientation.

According to Kevin Mendez, Chair, PANCAP Youth Advocacy Steering Committee, the forum will also facilitate sharing of success stories, and lessons learnt from regional youth leaders calling attention to issues concerning adolescents’ health and rights. “Youth leaders will combine their experiences and knowledge to identify innovative ways to address gaps in the achievement of the priority areas of the Caribbean Regional Youth Advocacy Framework on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights,” stated the Chair, “our goal is to strengthen the Caribbean regional HIV response and create a roadmap with strategies for sustaining youth advocacy”.

In excess of 40 participants will attend, consisting of CARICOM Youth Ambassadors (CYAs), youth leaders from Key Populations, representatives of the Caribbean Family Planning Affiliation (CFPA), Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/ World Health Organization (WHO), Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC), CariFLAGS, Caribbean Right Here, Right Now (CRHRN), and the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. Over 15 Caribbean territories will be represented.

What is PANCAP?

PANCAP is a Caribbean regional partnership of governments, regional civil society organisations, regional institutions and organisations, bilateral and multilateral agencies and contributing donor partners which was established on 14 February 2001. PANCAP provides a structured and unified approach to the Caribbean’s response to the HIV epidemic, coordinates the response through the Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework on HIV and AIDS to maximise efficient use of resources and increase impact, mobilises resources and build capacity of partners.

What are the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 90-90-90 Targets?

  • By 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status.
  • By 2020, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy.
  • By 2020, 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.

Contact:

Timothy Austin

Communications Specialist

PANCAP Coordinating Unit

CARICOM Secretariat

Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana

Email:      taustin.consultant@caricom.org

Tel: (592) 222-0001-75, Ext. 3409  | Visit www.PANCAP.org

Editor’s Notes:

Overview of PANCAP Youth Initiatives

The Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework (CRSF) 2014-2018 articulates the vision and collective priorities of Caribbean states through their membership in the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP). The CRSF recognises that resources must be strategically allocated to target the epidemic at regional, country, community and individual levels. Doing so effectively will require establishing and sustaining an enabling environment (Strategic Priority Area 1) by addressing social and cultural drivers of the epidemic and by removing barriers to access sexual and reproductive health information, education and services. In particular, more conscious efforts to address human sexuality are needed in order to equip young people with the regional public goods including knowledge and tools they need for healthy development.

As of 2014, there were 280 000 [210 000–340 000] people living with HIV, 8800 [5700–13 000] AIDS-related deaths among adults, and 44% [33%-54%] of adults living with HIV accessing HIV treatment in the Caribbean. Young people, especially among key populations, in Caribbean are disproportionately at risk of HIV infection, and they face greater barriers to accessing prevention services. According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), HIV prevalence among young people is 0.07% and 0.05% in females and males in the non-Hispanic Caribbean and 0.2% and 0.3% in the Hispanic Caribbean both respectively. In Jamaica, where the data are available, higher estimated HIV prevalence has been reported among gay, men that have sex with men (14%) and transgender adolescent girls (27%).  While the regional response has realised some progress with a 43% reduction among adults and a 90% reduction in children acquiring HIV, gaps and challenges remain.  HIV prevalence remains high among Key Populations (KPs) such as Sex Workers (SW), Men who have Sex with Men (MSM), and young people.  At the same time, challenges regarding stigma and discrimination, violations of human rights and gender-based violence continue to hinder access to services for young people in general.

To work more systematically with young people belonging to KPs who are more difficult to reach, PANCAP/Global Fund grant programme proposed to collaborate with CVC/COIN to link at-risk youth with the CYAP. The CYAP provides a unique platform for leadership development and collaboration that can strengthen the participation of a more diverse and better-informed youth constituency in CARICOM decision-making. This will serve a mutually beneficial purpose of strengthening the relevance and impact of the Youth Ambassadors as well as providing access to high-level CARICOM fora for KP youth, allowing for collaborative approaches to high-level advocacy that better links the issues and priorities of CARICOM to those of young people. This initiative supports the inclusion and participation of some Key Population groups (i.e. PLHIV, MSM, SW and youth) in the regional response addressing the critical gaps given the overwhelming evidence of the main drivers of HIV transmission in these groups.

The First Meeting of Youth Leaders held in April 2017 allowed for in-depth discussion of sexual health issues affecting young people, identified what are barriers to their access to sexual health services, as well as identify what knowledge and tools are required to protect themselves from HIV. The meeting provided input required to develop a regional advocacy framework on key sexual health issues affecting youth and to inform subsequent training to strengthen advocacy skills of regional youth leaders. This has strengthened the inclusion of youth leaders in the regional and national responses to work towards a more coherent and holistic approach to issues affecting youth from key populations and young people living with HIV: the dissonance between the age of sexual initiation (before age 15), prevailing legislation on the age of consent (16 years), and the age for independent access to health care (18 years) with the exception of Jamaica in which age for independent access for health care is 16, the implementation of Comprehensive Sexuality Education in all schools in the Caribbean and Gender-neutral laws that protect victims of sexual exploitation.

The formalization of a Steering Committee on Youth Advocacy and follow up meetings are an innovative approach to mobilise regional youth leaders to actively engage in high-level advocacy and policy dialogues by linking the CYAP with PLHIV youth leaders and other sexual and reproductive health youth activities/leaders.

The Second Meeting of Youth Leaders held in May 2018, provided the opportunity for an in-depth discussion on the achievements and challenges confronted by youth leaders in addressing the three priority areas identified in the Caribbean Regional Youth Advocacy Framework (CRYAF) to set in motion practical advocacy tools and techniques that can be adapted per country context. The meeting served to identify regional and international mechanisms that can be used as best practice models for the achievement of priority objectives, provide the opportunity to exercise advocacy techniques with parliamentarian(s), CSO representation and CYAs through a panel discussion addressed sexual and reproductive health issues and concerns identified by youth leaders. The meeting enabled the adaptation of standardized data collecting and reporting tool used by youth leaders in their respective countries. This informed PANCAP of opportunities to support an innovative approach to mobilize regional youth leaders to actively engage in high-level advocacy, as well as further develop advocacy tools and materials to review and address policies, practices and laws that affect young people’s vulnerabilities to HIV.

Helpful links:

Faith Leaders Consultation convened in Guyana to discuss ending HIV-related stigma and discrimination

PANCAP convened the Guyana Faith Leaders Consultation, today 3 June 2019 at the CARICOM Secretariat, Georgetown, Guyana. The meeting formed part of a series of regional meetings with faith leaders under the PANCAP Justice for All Programme.  Bishop Michael E. Perreira, Senior Pastor Eccles Assembly of God and Member, Regional Consultative (Religious) Steering Committee, chaired the meeting with the support of PANCAP Director Dereck Springer and PANCAP Advisor, Dr Edward Greene.

Outcomes:

  • Faith leaders agreed to incorporate HIV messages into their faith-based work and planned activities
    • Director of PANCAP Dereck Springer challenged the meeting to utilise youth groups/ clubs to propagate messages about ending stigma and discrimination
    • He noted that HIV messages could be integrated into the holistic education of youths, especially awareness about other social issues, including teenage pregnancies, illegal drugs, etc.
  • Faith leaders agreed that stigma and discrimination continue to be significant barriers to vulnerable groups accessing health and that there is an urgent need for more education on the matter.
  • Bishop Pereira urged faith leaders to take ownership of events and activities to promote HIV awareness and ending stigma and discrimination.
  • Dr Ronald McGarrell, Inter-Religions Organisation of Guyana (IRO) and Family Federation for World Peace, indicated that the IRO had designated a communications focal point who will be responsible for receiving information on HIV awareness and disseminating the knowledge to all representatives within the IRO.
  • Faith leaders agreed to work with the National AIDS Programme Secretariat (NAPS) concerning information and knowledge sharing as well as working in communities to end stigma and discrimination.
  • Finally, faith leaders reached consensus on working with the IRO on activities developed to sensitise Guyanese on HIV-related stigma and discrimination.

Present were Pastor Orin Bruce, Eccles Assembly of God, Bishop Francis Alleyne, Roman Catholic Church, Rev. Dr Ronald McGarrell, Inter-Religions Organisation of Guyana (IRO) and Family Federation for World Peace, Pandit Chaman Lall Poonai, Arya Samaj in Guyana, Mrs Omadai Prashad, Guyana Oneness University, Bishop Peter Koulen, Guyana United Apostolic Mystical Council, Ras Simeon Selassie, Guyana Rastafari Council, Ras Kahfra, Bishop Chaitram Lall, Assemblies of God, Ms Lorna McPherson, National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Guyana, Pastor Joseph Inniss, World Vision New Testament of God, Rev. Noel Holder, Guyana Congregational Union of Churches (GCU), Mr Telford Layne, Seventh Day Adventist, Father Carl Peters, Anglican Diocese of Guyana, Captain Wilkings Buissereth, The Salvation Army, Ms Lisa Mae Agard, PANCAP Regional Coordinating Mechanism (RCM) for the Global Fund Project and Dr Rhonda Moore, National AIDS Programme Secretariat (Guyana).