January 22, 2010
Strengthening efforts in response to HIV and AIDS in the Caribbean

The Caribbean HIV&AIDS Alliance (CHAA) is mobilising support in the response to HIV and AIDS in the Caribbean. CHAA held consultation meetings with key stakeholders on Wednesday, January 13, 2010, at five of its six offices throughout the Caribbean to share the organisation’s new Strategic Framework for the next three years and to engage in stakeholder dialogue regarding the framework.{{more}}

The meetings were used to provide an overview of the work CHAA has done and continues to do across the region. The Strategic Framework outlines six strategic objectives, comprising: work around promoting universal access to prevention, care and support services for key populations in the Caribbean region; the implementation of appropriate intervention strategies, based on evidence, to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS for key populations; strengthening Civil Society to participate effectively in the response to the HIV and AIDS epidemic; increasing access to effective community-based HIV and AIDS programmes for key populations; working in partnership with key stakeholders for the eradication of stigma and discrimination and securing CHAA’s long term viability and sustainability.

Following the presentations, stakeholders actively participated by expressing their thoughts on how CHAA can further support efforts to reduce stigma and discrimination; build capacity among civil society agencies in addition to sharing statistical data and information on lessons learnt. It was agreed that such collaborations will enable more effective, focussed and informed decision-making; remove duplication of efforts resulting in better use of available resources and lastly, information sharing which can be used to influence national policy.

The meetings concluded with unanimous consent that the consultation was a positive step forward; attendees applauded CHAA for taking the initiative to host such meetings and in leading the way in strengthening alliances throughout the Caribbean. One representative indicated that the consultation meeting was greatly appreciated and said it was necessary to host similar meetings on an ongoing basis since it facilitates information exchange, the generation of ideas and greater involvement and partnerships.

Basil Williams, CHAA’s Executive Director indicated that he was very pleased with the outcome of the meetings and promised that CHAA will intensify its efforts to positively impact on the reduction of HIV and AIDS in the Caribbean. He stated that stakeholder partnership is essential to a comprehensive and effective approach when responding to the HIV and AIDS epidemic in the Caribbean.

Officials who attended the meeting represented national, regional and international organisations including: UNAIDs; British High Commissioner to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean; Ministries of Social Development; Community Development; Youth Affairs; Education; Health and; Gender Affairs, as well as, Police Service; Red Cross; Peace Corps; Christian Council; National Aids Secretariats; Family Planning Associations; Centers for Disease Prevention and Control and; representatives from the Medical Fraternity, to name a few. The stakeholder consultation meetings took place at CHAA Offices in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines and its headquarters in Trinidad and Tobago.