PANCAP ADVOCATES UNIFIED APPROACH TO UNIVERSAL ACCESS
Posted in: Statements from CARICOM Meetings | 01 June 2006 | Release Ref #: 102/2006 | 991
(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) Caribbean leaders are concerned about long term financing for HIV programmes in the Region because of an expected shortfall of US$900 million to the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
This was one of the key issues raised at a breakfast meeting for CARICOM/ PANCAP high level officials attending the three-day United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on HIV/AIDS in New York.
The urgent need to put mechanisms in place to obtain the support of the international community to have a clear vision and goal for universal access and for setting a specific goal for testing were also raised. The Jamaica representative, Prof. Peter Figueroa, Chief, Epidemiology and AIDS, Ministry of Health, spoke of the critical need for people to know their status and for the whole process of testing to be demystified if we are to achieve universal access.
Making full use of the education system to reach the youth, reducing stigma and discrimination and paying attention to modernising the legislation that helps facilitate these were also among the issues discussed and agreed as strategies that should inform the regional Plan of Action for achieving universal access. In the latter regard, particular emphasis was placed on the need for regional interventions to be consonant with those at the national level.
The meeting, in considering the draft political declaration to be endorsed by UNGASS at its closing session on June 2, agreed that the roadmap established on the basis of the PANCAP national and regional consultations and produced as a Report would serve as a guideline to the regional response. The UNGASS Declaration will guide the direction that the international community will take to counter the pandemic.
Chair of the meeting, Prime Minister the Hon. Dr Denzil Douglas of St. Kitts and Nevis who has the health portfolio amongst CARICOM prime ministers told the meeting that the Region is concerned that the categorisation of some Caribbean countries as “middle income” states deprives them of financial grants to counter HIV/AIDS. He urged the Region to move ahead with harmonisation and alignment of regional and national programmes to ensure that the CARICOM/PANCAP region can truly achieve the goal of universal access to prevention, treatment care and support by 2010.