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.

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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).

PANCAP and Government of Barbados host Parliamentarians Consultation

Wednesday, 29 May 2019 (PANCAP Coordinating Unit, CARICOM Secretariat): The Pan-Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP), with funding from the CARIFORUM 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Programme of Support for Wider Caribbean Cooperation, collaborated with the Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs, Barbados and the Barbados National HIV/AIDS Commission to convene a consultation with parliamentarians in Barbados.  Dr Jacqueline Wiltshire, Deputy Permanent Secretary (ag), Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs chaired the meeting.

In delivering the Keynote address Hon Cynthia Forde, Minster of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs emphasized that leadership, as well as personal and political courage, were required to deal with the determinants that drive HIV. She reminded the meeting of the political leadership provided by the administration of former Prime Minister Owen Arthur who made HIV a priority by placing it within the Office of the Prime Minister.

Minister Forde challenged all parliamentarians to be involved in a system of governance that is grounded in the social protection of all groups. She stated that her Ministry and the National HIV/AIDS Commission take their mandate seriously and are working assiduously to transform the social landscape for all citizens and to ensure their right to fully participate in all spheres and contribute to social development and evidence-based policy.  The Minister emphasised that no one must be left behind and in this regard, her Ministry has taken its responsibility seriously. “Both government and parliamentarians have never made HIV a political issue but instead have funded a multi-sectoral response including services that are offered free of cost to all,” stated Minister Forde. She also observed that parliamentarians and faith leaders do not fathom the extent of their impact on citizens as they are in a privileged position to work collectively to eliminate the scourge of HIV. She called on all parliamentarians to recommit to an AIDS-free Barbados and Caribbean.

Ambassador Daniela Tramacere, Delegation of the European Union to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean Countries, the OECS and CARICOM/CARIFORUM reminded the meeting that stigma and discrimination are still hampering efforts to reduce new HIV infections, increase the number of persons accessing anti-retroviral treatment and ensure that those who have contracted HIV can live full and productive lives. “The EU has invested approximately Euros 530,000 in PANCAP over two years from October 2017 to August 2019. We believe that our investment can also have a multiplier effect. Through sessions such as this, the message can be amplified to communities across the nation and the region,” stated the Ambassador. The EU Representative shared that through increased engagement and coordination, faith-based collaboration with health officials and political leaders can play a pivotal role in reducing the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV and AIDS. “Indeed, HIV/AIDS is not an individual issue but one that touches every part of society and our economy. This is our collective problem, and we need to come together to develop a collective solution,” stated Ambassador Tramacere.

Mr Dereck Springer, Director of PANCAP, provided an overview of PANCAP’s engagements with parliamentarians under its Justice for All programme that seeks to affirm human rights and reduce stigma and discrimination. The Director noted that both the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the CARIFORUM 10th European Development Fund are contributing to PANCAP’s work with parliamentarians geared towards creating a more enabling environment for people living with HIV and key population groups. He reminded the meeting of the crucial role that parliamentarians must play in response to HIV and acknowledged that parliamentarians come from families and society and regularly engage with their constituencies thus enabling them to understand the challenges faced by people living with and affected by HIV. He also highlighted the legislative, representational and oversight roles of parliamentarians.

Dr Anton Best, Senior Medical Officer, Ministry of Health, Barbados delivered a presentation that included an overview of the epidemiology of HIV in Barbados as well as the implementation of Treat All and Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP).

Dr Frank Anthony, PANCAP Consultant, provided a historical perspective of HIV, the advances being made in relation to the science, presented on the key actions required by parliamentarians in relation to their legislative, representational and oversight roles, and facilitated a discussion on key policy and legislative issues that require changes and which are within the control of parliamentarians.

During the plenary discussion led by Dr Frank Anthony, parliamentarians agreed to establish a Joint Parliamentary Committee to identify priorities for action.

The consultation was also attended by representatives of faith-based organisations, civil society organisations, and UN agencies representatives.

– 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
Website:  www.pancap.org

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 the 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 while 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

Barbados Parliamentarians Sensitization Forum

Wednesday 29 May 2019 (PANCAP Coordinating Unit, CARICOM Secretariat): The Pan-Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP), with funding from the CARIFORUM 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Programme of Support for Wider Caribbean Cooperation, hosted the Barbados Parliamentarians Sensitization Forum at the Radisson Aquatica Resort Barbados on 29 May 2019.    

The Forum formed part of a series of engagements with parliamentarians, which commenced in 2013 under the PANCAP Justice for All (JFA) programme. Parliamentarians were involved in defining their legislative, representational and oversight roles to address the barriers toward achieving the UNAIDS 90-90-90 Targets[1], eliminating stigma and discrimination and contributing to the end of AIDS. They discussed pursuing actions with specific timelines and made recommendations for the establishment of a National Parliamentarians Action Group to function as a coordinating mechanism to facilitate communications with and among National Parliamentary Committees.

Parliamentarians also utilised the forum to identify ways to collaborate with other stakeholders in the HIV response, including faith leaders, civil society, youth and Key Populations.

Featured speakers included Hon. Cynthia Y. Forde J.P., L.C.P. Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs, Barbados, Hon. Gline A. Clarke, J.P., B.Sc., Dip. Ed., Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly, Barbados, and Mr Dereck Springer, Director of PANCAP.

– 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, mobilizes 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

[1] 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 and

By 2020, 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.

PANCAP Learning Exchange promotes value of PrEP for prevention of HIV transmission

Image: (Front row, second from left) Ms Prenell King-Rolle, Acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, The Bahamas , Dr Pearl McMillan, Chief Medical Officer, Ministry of Health, The Bahamas, Dr Nikkiah Forbes,  Director of the National HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Programme, Ministry of Health, The Bahamas; (Front row, first from right) Dr Shanti Singh-Anthony, Knowledge Management Coordinator, PANCAP Knowledge for Health Project with participants of the PANCAP Learning Exchange and employees of the Ministry of Health, The Bahamas.

Friday, 17 May 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, collaborated with The Bahamas Ministry of Health National AIDS Programme to coordinate a learning exchange that focused on The Bahamas’s experience in the implementation of Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). The capacity building initiative was held from 6 -10 May 2019 and also focused on “Treat All”, the transition to Dolutegravir, and laboratory support for viral suppression.

The initiative was led by Dr Shanti Singh-Anthony, PANCAP Knowledge Management Coordinator, who explained that the learning exchange was designed for participants to experience first-hand the process utilized by The Bahamas Ministry of Health National AIDS Programme to coordinate and collaborate with civil society organisations, the private sector, and other stakeholders to deliver comprehensive HIV services to communities, particularly key populations.

Dr Singh-Anthony also highlighted that participants were exposed to critical aspects of The Bahamas’ PrEP programme and benefitted from an explanation of how the country transitioned to the use of the highly effective antiretroviral therapy, Dolutegravir.

The countries participating in the learning exchange event included Guyana, Jamaica and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

Multi-disciplinary country teams participated in the event.  The teams comprised of National AIDS Programme Managers, Clinical Care Coordinators, HIV clinicians and civil society organisation (CSO) representatives who work closely with the national programme in the implementation of PrEP and other aspects of the HIV response.  A total of seven persons from the three countries participated and interacted with representatives of the Ministry of Health The Bahamas, clinical and laboratory staff, and CSO representatives.

Dr Singh-Anthony explained that site visits were conducted to community clinics where participants interacted with key clinic staff in the areas of HIV testing, treatment, community outreach, documentation, and monitoring and reporting. This allowed participants to understand how services are organised and delivered, the number and skill set of the clinical team, and other resources available for supporting service delivery.

Participants also interacted with the beneficiaries of the clinics, particularly key populations and participated in community outreach activities led by the National AIDS Programme and CSO teams aimed at increasing access to services by key populations.

Dr Singh-Anthony believes that the Learning Exchange is critical to the implementation of PrEP in the Region.  “The Caribbean is on the cusp of fully embracing and implementing PrEP. Hence, it was crucial for PANCAP to lead this multidisciplinary team on a learning journey to expand their understanding of how PrEP can improve clinical management and outcomes for individuals at risk for HIV.  The overarching aim is for the Learning Exchange to act as an impetus for more expansion of knowledge on PrEP and its eventual implementation across the Region”.

The Learning Exchange forms part of the PANCAP Knowledge for Health Project with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

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

Website:  www.pancap.org

Helpful links:

PANCAP Knowledge for Health Project

https://pancap.org/pancap-work/applying-knowledge-management-to-strengthen-pancaps-coordination-role-for-the-regional-hivaids-response/

Video – HIV – Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in the Bahamas

https://pancap.org/pancap-events/hiv-pre-exposure-prophylaxis-prep-in-the-bahamas/

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.

PANCAP Regional Meeting concludes with calls for holistic approach to providing migrant health services through an intersectoral strategy

Thursday, 11 April 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, concluded the regional meeting to provide guidance on the implementation of the Regional Framework on Migrant Health and Rights on 11 April 2019 in Port-of-Spain, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

The purpose of the meeting was to facilitate input from regional stakeholders for finalising a guidance document on how to implement the Framework on Migrant Health and Rights within their country context.

The outcomes of the meeting included an agreement on a holistic approach to providing services for migrants including social services through an intersectoral strategy.

Participants emphasised that the health priorities of each territory must guide the implementation of the Migrant Framework at the country level as well as all policies governing access to migrants’ health.

Participants also agreed on the implementation of the Framework on Migrant Health and Rights at the country level in the interest of protecting and safeguarding public health throughout the region.

Participants were exposed to country presentations from Guyana and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, which provided details of the situation and response to Venezuelan migrants as well as experiences from Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, The Bahamas and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).  These experiences illustrated the need for the implementation of the Framework to ensure consistent access to health by migrants.

There was also broad agreement on the need to implement the Framework at the country level from a Human Rights perspective.

Participants called for research into the financial and human resource capacity that is essential to provide holistic health services for migrants. The meeting noted the urgent need for strategic information for decision-making regarding the type of services necessary for migrants.  It was also recommended that countries research the requirements for a minimum package of services for migrants.

Participants also recommended research into sourcing a financial mechanism to mobilise funding for access to all healthcare by migrants.

Building strategic partnerships within the public health system to advance holistic treatment for migrants was proposed as a necessary step which would provide immediate results for improving access to services by migrants.  Participants also advocated for creating strategic alliances with social services to offer comprehensive care for migrants including sexual and reproductive health services, housing, nutrition, etc.

There were calls for an education, training and sensitisation programme for immigration and border patrol officers to provide guidance on the health, social and psychological requirements of migrants.

Educating the media on the positive impact of migration and highlighting the benefits of integrating migrants into society through public awareness communication campaigns was also recommended. Participants emphasised the need to utilise the regional media to highlight the positive aspects of migrants’ culture to reduce negative perceptions.

Mr Dereck Springer, Director of PANCAP, committed to PANCAP continuing high-level engagements with policymakers, including Ministers of Health and Finance and the CARICOM Secretariat to advocate for access to health by migrants as a public health priority.

The Director highlighted that PANCAP would follow up with countries on the implementation of the Migrant Framework through the PANCAP Justice for All Programme and the PANCAP Policy and Strategy Working Group on Stigma and Discrimination.

The PANCAP Director concluded the meeting with a challenge for participants to advocate at the country-level for an intersectoral holistic approach to providing services for migrants which would incorporate their social and psychological needs.  He noted that the draft guidance on the implementation of the framework proposed by participants is not prescriptive and can be adapted based on the requirements of each territory.

Participants included Port Health Medical Officers, Representatives of Ministries of National Security and Border Affairs, Legal officers and Protection Officers, International Development partners, Permanent Secretaries, Ministries of Health, Chief Medical Officers, National AIDS Programme Managers, Immigration Officers, Civil society partners that work with key populations, Youth Leaders, Private Sector, Academia, and the International Organization for Migration.

  – ENDS –

Helpful links:

PANCAP Rights-Based Framework for Migrant Health and Rights 2018

https://pancap.org/pancap-documents/pancap-rights-based-framework-for-migrant-health-and-rights-2018/

Meeting to provide guidance to countries on how to operationalise the regional framework on migrant health and rights – Event page

https://pancap.org/pancap-events/regional-forum-on-migrants-and-mobile-populations-rights-and-health-2/

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. 

Editor’s Notes

Background to the Meeting to provide guidance to countries on how to operationalise the regional framework on migrant health and rights

CARICOM governments have signed on to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and other relevant international conventions as evidence of their commitment to protect and promote the rights of migrants. The International Convention on the Protection of Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families 1990 is the most comprehensive instrument protecting the rights of migrants but only St Vincent and the Grenadines has ratified this convention.  With respect to migrant workers, some countries have ratified the following conventions: #97 Migration for Employment; #111  Concerning discrimination in respect of employment and occupation; and #138 Concerning minimum age for admission to employment.

Previous assessments/studies have found that in the majority of countries, the HIV-related needs of migrants and mobile populations are not integrated in the national HIV response and existing health care programmes. Little data is available on diverse mobile populations and there are no culturally and linguistically appropriate HIV intervention programmes targeting mobile populations, especially high-risk groups including sex workers and MSM.  Strict immigration policies adopted by some governments may drive sex workers underground, thereby making them and their clients more vulnerable to contracting HIV. Migrant workers in some countries are consistently listed among the most vulnerable populations owing to, among other factors; their legal status, lack of access to information and services, language barriers and poverty. However, to date no comprehensive strategies exist to address HIV prevention among this vulnerable population. There is limited understanding of the profile of the epidemic among migrant workers or the factors that increase this population’s vulnerability to HIV.

Given the challenges outlined above PANCAP, with funding from the Global Fund in June 2018, developed a regional rights-based framework to increase the access of migrants and mobile populations to HIV prevention, care, support and treatment.

The Framework sets out a roadmap for equitable and non-discriminatory access to health care services across the Caribbean for mobile and migrant populations regardless of age, race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, property, birth or other status. The Framework responds to the findings of two multi-country studies conducted by PANCAP over the period 2011 – 2015 which highlighted the barriers to access HIV services by migrant and mobile populations. Following a participatory approach involving representation from Government, (Ministry of Health, Chief Medical Officers, National AIDS Programmes, Immigration Officers) Civil Society (Migrant groups and other key population groups) and international and regional organisations including, PANCAP, UWI, IOM, UNHCR and UNAIDS at a regional forum in Trinidad and Tobago from the 26-27 June 2018, the mandate was for the development of a more comprehensive roadmap for a Regional Rights-Based Framework to Increase the Access of Migrants and Mobile Populations to HIV Prevention, Care, Support and Treatment.

The Framework is rationalised with the vision of regionalism under the CSME and sets out guiding principles and recommended strategies for regional and national action. The Protocol on Contingent Rights was adopted and opened for signature at the 39th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community held in Montego Bay, Jamaica on 4-6 July 2018. It was signed by seven countries (Barbados, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname) but is not yet in force. The Protocol grants rights to CARICOM nationals exercising the right of establishment, provision of services, movement of capital or free movement of skills. Spouses and immediate dependents are also entitled to enjoy these rights.

The Framework on Migrant Health and Rights was subsequently endorsed by the Priority Areas Coordinating Committee (technical committee of the PANCAP Executive Board), PANCAP Executive Board and the Council for Human and Social Development – Ministers of Health). The Priority Areas Coordinating Committee recommended that PANCAP should identify a model that can be used to guide countries in operationalising the Framework to their county context.