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‘Strengthening the Regional HIV Response’ is the focus of Fifth Meeting of National AIDS Programme (NAP) Managers and Key PartnersNAP Managers to assess progress of achieving 90-90-90 targets and identify gaps and challenges

March 6, 2017

The Pan-Caribbean Partnership Against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP) is hosting over 70 NAP managers, selected chief medical officers and permanent secretaries, as well as representatives of civil society organizations, and partners from across the Region for the Fifth Meeting of NAP Managers and key partners at the Office of the Parliament, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago from 6 – 10 March, 2017. The forum will focus on strengthening the regional HIV and AIDS response. The meeting is funded by the Global Fund and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

In his keynote address at the opening ceremony of the meeting, Hon. Terrence Deyalsingh, Minister of Health, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, called for a ‘recalibration of the messages being used to educate the public on HIV and AIDS. ‘Despite the millions of dollars invested in HIV and AIDS prevention, people are failing to change their risky behavior’, stated Minister Deyalsingh, ‘we have to get our men in particular to take responsibility if we are going to end HIV by 2020’.

The Minister further emphasized that since donor funding for the disease in the Caribbean is dwindling, programme implementers must be strategic and focus more efforts on behavior change. ‘We must reach our young people using the forms of media that occupy their time,’ stated the Minister, ‘if we are to truly end HIV by 2020, we must invest our efforts in creating real behavior change’.

In his address, Director of the PANCAP Coordinating Unit, Dereck Springer, stated that the meeting is occurring at an ideal time when the entire region is discussing the sustainability of the HIV and AIDS response in the Caribbean and it offers an opportunity to assess progress on current global strategies, and identify innovative ways to address gaps and strengthen the Caribbean regional HIV response.

‘I am pleased that the discussions will focus on identifying what gaps and challenges remain in the Region’s response to HIV and AIDS as prevention is high on the list of critical initiatives which must be resuscitated and sustained,’ stated the Director, ‘most pivotal to the discussion will be the next steps and recommendations for bridging these gaps. These next steps are of particular importance when one considers the regional challenge of reduced funding for HIV and AIDS programmes as well as the region-wide discussion on the need for Government supported programmes to fill the gaps which remain’.

The discussions with NAP managers and key partners will be conducted within the context of the Caribbean’s advancement in achieving the 90-90-90 targets with the overarching aim being an agreement on recommendations, which NAP managers and pivotal stakeholders can advocate at the level of policy implementation.
An update from development and regional partners, including The Global Fund, PEPFAR, UNAIDS, CARPHA, the University of the West Indies, Caribbean Med Lab Foundation and ‘Live Up’ on current and planned initiatives for the Caribbean region, including progress and support provided by development partners for countries and regional partners, is another feature of the agenda. There will also be an update on the PANCAP Local Capacity Initiative Project and the PANCAP-Johns Hopkins University Knowledge for Health Project.

‘I encourage all NAP managers and civil society partners to utilize the forum to formulate strategic next steps for strengthening the regional HIV and AIDS response,’ stated Mr. Springer, ‘the ideal outcome from the forum will be an agreement on policy recommendations and strategies for assisting countries to operationalize their responses to achieve the global and regional targets’.

Timothy Austin
Communications Specialist
PANCAP Coordinating Unit | Knowledge for Health (K4Health)
CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen
Tel: (592) 222-0001-75, Extension 3409
Fax: (592) 222-0203

Editor’s Notes

Background to the National AIDS Programme Managers and Key Partners Meeting

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 core premise is that stemming the HIV epidemic in the Caribbean rests on the commitment, capacity and leadership of national authorities and effective response. The primary goal of regional collaborative efforts is to support country responses by addressing common challenges in the areas of evidence based policy formulation, and innovative responses  to  addressing legislative gaps, resource mobilisation, coordination and technical assistance., An effective regional response, guided by the CRSF 2014-2018,therefore  requires that the links and interfaces between country programmes  and regional support programmes be defined and agreed to by country partners. This is critical for strengthening country ownership of the PANCAP response and a shared responsibility to strategically align efforts to end HIV as a public health problem in the Caribbean.

The NAP (National AIDS Program) Managers and Key Partners Meeting provides an opportunity for joint decision-making in setting programmatic priorities and identifying partner contributions in order to strategically align efforts in the fight against HIV. The Meeting Agenda is intended to allow for in-depth analysis and discussion on the relevant aspects of the UN Post 2015 Agenda, and the overall advancements of the Caribbean Region in implementing new initiatives for HIV. It is within this context that opportunities and challenges for the Region and individual countries to expand the national responses will be discussed. PANCAP acknowledges the need for greater attention to inter- country linkages and greater collaboration with regional partners. This will serve to maximise synergies, and provide a mechanism for making regional public goods available to national programmes to enhance their delivery and impact.

What are the 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)

Follow updates from the Meeting of NAP Managers and Key Partners using #StrengtheningHIVResponse