First Look

Pan-Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS

Pan American Health Organization | 2018-06-12 11:51:00

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 Integral Orientation and Research Center/ Centro de Orientación e Investigación Integral (COIN) for a face-to-face knowledge exchange event in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic from 4-8 June 2018.

COIN is a social interest institution based in the Dominican Republic that implements HIV prevention, care, treatment and support programmes for key populations.  The entity has been a key partner of the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance (Dominican Republic) and grassroots, community-based organizations in service delivery.

The objective of the knowledge exchange event was to provide participants with first-hand experience of COIN’s operations.  This included a detailed explanation of how the entity has coordinated and collaborated with the Ministry of Health, other civil society organizations and stakeholders in delivering comprehensive HIV services in communities and to key populations.

Ten persons from four countries, Jamaica, Guyana, Suriname and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, were involved in the learning exchange event.  The team consisted of National AIDS Programme Managers, civil society organization (CSO) representatives, HIV clinicians and social workers.

The event encompassed participants engaging with officials of the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance, the National HIV response and community-based organizations through site visits to clinics and outreaches.

The learning exchange was spearheaded by Dr. Shanti Singh-Anthony, PANCAP Knowledge Management Coordinator, who stated “there was a wealth of knowledge to be shared with our participants on the Dominican Republic’s national HIV response and COIN’s experience of service delivery, prioritization of key populations and their collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance and other in-country partners”.

She further explained that the goal of the knowledge exchange was to share successful models of care delivery in reaching key populations with prevention, Antiretrovirals (ARTs) and support services at the national level and for participants to understand the intersection with community-based models.

“Our objective was for participants to experience successful interventions by COIN aimed at reducing stigma and discrimination among key populations”, stated Dr. Singh-Anthony, “and to expose them to the components of COIN’s Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) programme as a new prevention modality”.

She further stated that another critical objective was for participants to understand the degree and mechanisms of coordination and collaboration between COIN, the Dominican Republic Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance, civil society organizations and other stakeholders in supporting the scale-up of HIV prevention, care and treatment services to key populations.

Dr. Singh-Anthony highlighted that the activity also facilitated knowledge sharing and exchange among the participants on the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) 90-90-90 Targets and World Health Organization “Treat All” recommendation.

Participants were also challenged to develop country-specific action plans to enhance in-country collaboration among members of the multidisciplinary team.  “The true measure of success will be the degree to which participants implement COIN’s model of care and other best practices within their country context,” stated Dr. Singh-Anthony, “we would have succeeded when this highly successful model is utilized to improve HIV prevention services to key populations across the region”.

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