February 9, 2007
Ministry of Heath hosts HIV/AIDS workshop

The increase in the number of staff members at the Ministry of Health and the Environment has positively impacted the functional monitoring and evaluation system of the HIV/AIDS programme and the data that is being generated has improved in both qualitative and quantitative terms.

This information was shared during the opening of the HIV/AIDS Secretariat workshop by the coordinator of the programme Majorie Browne on Tuesday. However according to Browne, despite the many improvements there is much more work to be done in the area of monitoring and evaluation. {{more}}

“The goal must be to develop a culture of monitoring and evaluation within our systems where everyone becomes comfortable with the practice and is applying it routinely in their work” she stated.

“It is against this background that this workshop has been organised to equip stakeholders across the board with the concepts of monitoring and evaluation and to enhance their capacity to apply those concepts in real life situations,” she continued.

Continuing with more good news, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Lanceford Weekes said that of all the OECS countries that are fighting against HIV/ AIDS, St. Vincent and the Grenadines is the only country to spend 100% of the funds that were allocated to them from the Global Fund which operates through the OECS. “This achievement came as a result of good monitoring and evaluation systems in place,” Weeks told the participants on Tuesday.

At present, the World Bank, which is one of the main sources of funds for the programme, has provided over US $5 million for over five years to assist the members of the AIDS Unit in their fight against the disease.

Generally, of the 15 targets that were set by the group, 13 were achieved. According to Weeks, two goals were not achieved because success in those areas is highly dependent on the persons who are suffering from the disease. They were unable to reach the target concerning the number of persons who receive treatment and care under the project because of the prevalence of stigma and discrimination in the society as a whole.

Also addressing the gathering was the Chief Medical Officer Dr. St. Clair Thomas, and the Workshop facilitator Dr. Donna Espuet from Jamaica.