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Communique On Pancap Second Annual Meeting of National Aids Programme Managers,  Senior National Officials And Regional Partners

(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana)     The second annual meeting of National AIDS Programme Managers, Senior Health Officials and HIV and AIDS Regional partners, was held in Port-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago from 23-24 October 2014 with funding from the PANCAP Global Fund Round 9 Grant. Co-chairs of the meeting: Mr. Dereck Springer, Director of the PANCAP Coordinating Unit; Dr. Ernest Massiah, Coordinator, UNAIDS Regional Support Team; Ms Julie Frampton, National AIDS Programme Coordinator, Dominica; and Dr. Patrick Martin, Chief Medical Officer, St. and Kitts and Nevis –presided over a programme of information sharing, peer learning and cross-country collaboration for a strengthened Caribbean HIV response. 
The meeting noted the achievements in the response to the Caribbean epidemic, including the progress made towards elimination of mother-to-child-transmission of HIV, significant reduction in the number of deaths due to AIDS, and substantial returns on investment.

Several concerns were expressed in relation to a number of ongoing challenges. The meeting noted the gaps in the response to the human rights agenda, gender and gender based violence and the existence of punitive laws that negatively impact universal access. The region’s dependency on diminishing external funding was recognised, along with the need for country investment cases and more cost effective and efficient programming.

The meeting expressed concern regarding the adequacy of investments in laboratories and the impact of this on service provision. In this context, it recommended  a comprehensive assessment and analysis of the status of laboratories be commissioned for advocacy and for moving the issue to the political level.

The meeting called for an assessment of the health vulnerability of unprotected sex and teenage pregnancy among young people, and urgent policy dialogue to address the dissonance between the age of consent and the age of access to sexual and reproductive services for adolescents.

The meeting finalised and endorsed the indicator framework for the Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework 2014-2018. The meeting also endorsed the thrust of the PANCAP grant activities which are focused on promoting human rights and addressing barriers to HIV and sexual and reproductive health services, particularly for key populations. The concept note will be submitted to the Global Fund in January 2015. The meeting noted the progress made by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Regional Coordinating Mechanism in developing its concept note.

The Meeting also noted the achievements of the PANCAP Global Fund Round Nine Grant Phase II and lauded the principal recipient and sub-recipients for consistently achieving an A-1 rating.

The meeting further noted the gaps to achieving national and regional goals which require attention; including adequate provision of rapid testing and access to point of care counselling and testing and increasing male counselling and testing.

Country representatives identified several areas requiring support from PANCAP. These are: regional advocacy for pooled procurement of medicines and laboratory commodities, definition of a minimum package of services for delivery at the primary health care level; advocacy for policy and legislation to remove barriers to access to services; technical and financial assistance to undertake research to address data gaps.

The meeting underscored the importance of leadership and governance for achieving optimal health goals at national and regional levels and for ensuring the effectiveness of the Partnership at both levels. 
The meeting committed to addressing the challenges of  inadequate access to services for those most in need; and inadequate access to financial resources to maintain the national and regional gains.

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