Media Centre

Remarks by the Director of PANCAP on the occasion of the Caribbean Regional Consultation of Key Populations and Religious Leaders on the Right to Health and Well-being for All

February 8, 2018

7th February 2018

Excellency Patrick Pengel, Minister of Health, Suriname, Dr Yitades Gebre, PAHO/WHO Representative, Suriname, Canon Garth Minott, Mr Colin Robinson and members of the Planning Committee, Dr Edward Greene, UNAIDS and PANCAP Advisor, Ms Monique Holtuin, National AIDS Programme Manager, Ms Mylene Pocorni, CCM Coordinator, faith leaders, key population leaders, colleagues, members of the media.

Today, the Partnership celebrates another significant milestone. Our faith and key population leaders are gathered here in Suriname to engage in a dialogue on reducing stigma and discrimination at this regional consultation on the right to health and wellbeing for all. This builds on PANCAP’s separate engagement with faith leaders and key population leaders and demonstrates the progress we have made as a region.

I believe that this dialogue, which is consistent with the PANCAP Justice for All Programme of affirming human rights and reducing stigma and discrimination, will contribute to the regional efforts that are directed toward the removal of barriers that impede access to HIV and sexual and reproductive health services for key populations.

We cannot end AIDS unless no one is left behind. The Justice for All Roadmap reflects a consensus that increasing uptake of health services by key populations requires a synergistic approach to strengthen both the enabling environment as well as the provision of sound evidence-based prevention, treatment and care services.

This consultation, therefore, brings faith leaders and key population leaders to the same table to increase understanding of (i) the effects of stigma and discrimination on health outcomes, (ii) the public health rationale for work to improve the enabling environment, including law and policy reform, and (iii) PANCAP’s efforts in this area, including the Justice for All programme.

I am confident that this consultation will open the door for further dialogue at both the regional and national levels, and increase support for efforts to reduce stigma and discrimination, including law and policy advocacy efforts, and ending AIDS by 2030.

I look forward to a successful consultation and the joint agreements that will emanate. I end by assuring you of PANCAP’s commitment to supporting you in your work ahead.

Thank you.