(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen,
Greater Georgetown, Guyana) Haiti’s Minister of
Health, the Hon. Dr. Florence Duperval Guillaume has
called on the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV
and AIDS (PANCAP) to prioritise regional programming
on stigma and discrimination.
Dr. Duperval Guillaume was
delivering remarks on Wednesday, at the official
opening of the Eighteenth Meeting of the Executive
Board of PANCAP, in Saint Lucia, in his capacity as
Chair of the Board.
While acknowledging the
Partnership’s accomplishments over the past eleven
years of its existence, the minister noted that
there was much work still to be done.
The Minister called on the
Executive Board to ensure that investments in HIV
programming reflected the evidence, and for more
strategic information to better characterize the
“The general consensus is that
stigma and discrimination are still widespread…. the
prevalence of HIV in most at risk populations such
as sex workers and men who have sex with men is far
greater than in the general population and HIV
investment and programming do not quite reflect
this,” she said.
Alluding to the imminent closure
of the PANCAP Stigma and Discrimination Unit, the
Minister encouraged international organizations
working in this field to build upon the work done by
this Unit and to take on board “the lessons learned
and the gains made.”
In her brief welcome remarks, the
Hon. Alvina Reynolds, Saint Lucia’s Minister of
Health, reminded the gathering of the early days of
the fledging Partnership, which held its first
Annual General meeting in Saint Lucia in 2001. She
stated that since then, “successive governments have
aggressively responded both at home and in the wider
region to ensure that the epidemic was under
control.” She reaffirmed Saint Lucia’s commitment to
the wider concept of integration and to the Region’s
response to the HIV & AIDS epidemic.
The official opening was chaired
by the PANCAP Coordinating Unit Director, Ms.
Juliette Bynoe-Sutherland who emphasized the
enduring importance of the PANCAP partnership
approach. Dean of the CARICOM Youth Ambassador, Mr.
Kerry Frank gave the vote of thanks.
The two-day Meeting will review,
among other issues, approaches to improving
coordination within the Partnership, particularly
between the OECS sub-region and wider Caribbean and
between key regional and international agencies
working in the area of HIV & AIDS stigma and
The Executive Board of PANCAP
provides policy guidance on the effective management
and operation of the Partnership and approves and
directs all PANCAP projects. PANCAP is a regional
Partnership which was established in February 2001
to respond to the HIV and AIDS epidemic in the
Caribbean. Its vision is to substantially reduce the
spread and impact of HIV and AIDS in the Caribbean
through sustainable systems of universal access to
HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.
The meeting immediately precedes
the 16th Special Meeting of the CARICOM Council for
Human and Social Development (COHSOD), which also
has its focus on Health and which will address
critical issues pertinent to HIV and AIDS, as well
the Caribbean Public Health Agency, (CARPHA).
CONTACT: Volderine Hackett