New PANCAP Champions recommit to contributing to goals of UNAIDS 90-90-90 TargetsAdvocacy to be focused on vulnerable groups and access to education and care by persons with disabilities
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, completed the Champions for Change IV – Relaunch (September 12-13) with a declaration by the over twenty-five participants including representatives from civil society organisations, National AIDS Programme Managers, faith leaders, academia, youth, regional parliamentarians and representatives from UN organisations.
The declaration highlighted a recommitment by the participants to contribute to the goals of UNAIDS 90-90-90 Targets to end AIDS by 2030. Participants also agreed to advocate for access to affordable medicines and strengthening laboratory systems as a human right by 2020; support enactment of appropriate legislation, regulations and other measures to eliminate all forms of discrimination and to ensure the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms of persons living with, at risk and affected by HIV by 2020.
Participants also pledged to utilize their influence to foster an enabling environment for all members of vulnerable communities including men who have sex with men, sex workers, persons who use drugs, girls and adolescents by 2020.
Participants committed to using their circle of influence to promote activities and programmes to further the Region’s success in the elimination of mother-to-child transfer of HIV and syphilis by 2020.
Emphasis was also placed on promoting initiatives that seek to integrate AIDS in a health/multisectoral approach in keeping with the Sustainable Development Goal #3; as well as propagating the implementation of Universal Health Access in accordance with the WHO/PAHO (2016) and World Health Assembly (2017) Declarations.
Participants also agreed to assist faith leaders to intensify efforts to provide spiritual, psychosocial, economic and physical care for persons living with HIV. Of note was an agreement to sustain activities that promote respectful dialogue between faith leaders and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) representatives.
Rev. Winston Mansingh, President of the Faith Based Network of Trinidad and Tobago and a PANCAP Champion for Change, urged the meeting to place further emphasis on persons with disabilities, especially those living with and affected by HIV. He illustrated examples of persons with disabilities not being able to access vital education about prevention, treatment and care due to messages not being tailored for their audience. Fellow Champion and Executive Director of LIVE UP: The Caribbean Media Alliance, Dr Allyson Leacock, echoed the sentiments of Rev. Mansingh and posited that websites, social media and other public education materials can be optimized for use by persons with disabilities. She stated that the initiative would require significant financial investment and that such a cause should be supported and propagated by the PANCAP Champions.
The final day of the event concluded with inspired words by UNAIDS and PANCAP Advisor, Dr Edward Greene, who charged the new Champions with using their influence to further the goals of the declaration in order to ensure success. Dr Greene stated that the next steps would include Champions building an effective network to use their collective influence to further the agendas of regional and international commitments for ending AIDS including the UN High Level Meeting Political Declaration (June 2016); the Caribbean Cooperation in Health IV (2016), the PANCAP Justice for All Roadmap (2015/2016) and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Dr Greene referred to the statements by Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Michael Dennis Byron, President, Caribbean Court of Justice, who delivered the keynote address at the opening ceremony. ‘Indeed, the law is an important determinant of health’, stated Dr Greene, ‘I urge you to combine your influence to call for revisions to be made to the legal system in the Caribbean that would comprehensively address the needs of vulnerable groups, including women and children; the LGBT community and persons living with or affected by HIV and AIDS.
The 2017 Champions for Change include Guyana’s First Lady, Mrs Sandra Granger for her outstanding leadership and championing of the ‘Every Caribbean Woman, Every Caribbean Child’ Initiative; the Executive Director of LIVE UP Dr. Allyson Leacock; Attorney-at-law Dr. Arif Bulkan; Canon of the Cathedral in the Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, Canon Garth Minott, Member of Parliament (Guyana), Dr. Frank Anthony; the Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Law and Economics (ILE), Jamaica, Dwayne Gutzmer; Founder and Managing Director of the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) in Guyana, Joel Simpson; Executive Director of the Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality (ECADE) Kenita Placide; Speaker of the National Assembly of Belize and Chairperson of the National AIDS Commission, Laura Tucker-Longworth; Chair of the Caribbean Forum for Liberation and Acceptance of Genders and Sexualities (CariFLAGS), Lucien Govaard; Guyana’s professional squash player, Nicolette Fernandes; President of the Barbados Evangelical Association, Rev. Dr Nigel Taylor; Director of the National HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Programme at the Bahamas Ministry of Health, Dr Nikkiah Forbes; Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Health, Terrence Deyalsingh; Deputy Programme Manager within the Communications Unit at the CARICOM Secretariat, Volderine Hackett; and Senior Pastor of The Poonah Open Bible Miracle Centre (POBMC), Trinidad and Tobago, Rev. Winston Mansingh.
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 Coordinating Unit
Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana
Tel: (592) 222-0001-75, Ext. 3409 | Visit www.PANCAP.org and follow PANCAP on: