Thursday, 24 January 2013

PANCAP director calls for integrated programmes

DIRECTOR of the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP), Juliet Bynoe-Sutherland, is strongly advocating for closer linkages between HIV/AIDS interventions and sexual and reproductive health care.

The Director recently noted that the HIV and AIDS epidemic is integrally linked to sexual and reproductive health, as both HIV/AIDS and poor sexual and reproductive health are driven by common root causes, including poverty, gender inequality and social marginalisation of the most vulnerable populations. Responses to both health issues should therefore be closely linked and mutually reinforcing; in fact, they should be integrated.
Director of the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV
and AIDS (PANCAP), Juliet Bynoe-Sutherland.
A section of the audience at last Friday’s symposium.
Bynoe-Sutherland’s comments came as she spoke at a special seminar hosted by the Caribbean HIV & AIDS Alliance, on the topic, “The Integration of HIV and Sexual Reproductive Health”. The seminar was held at the Amaryllis Beach Resort in Barbados last Friday afternoon and served to bring together a number of regional partners and agencies in the HIV/AIDS fight, to explore the topic.

“I have begun to actively promote adopting a sexual and reproductive health (SRH) approach to prevention, because efforts need to be grounded in proven methodologies. SRH compiles both public health and humans rights-based approaches, across an individual’s life cycle. It allows for integration of HIV into health systems and responds well to concentrated or generalised epidemics,” the PANCAP Director has also been quoted as saying.

During her presentation, Bynoe-Sutherland acknowledged the need for the restructuring of national HIV and AIDS programmes. She stated that there is, at present, a reduction in the flow of funding to the Caribbean for HIV and AIDS programmes, which came about with the onset of the recent global recession. Given that governments have limited fiscal resources to fund programmes as well, there must be a shift towards more “results-oriented programming”, and there must be a shared response where the public and private sector and non-governmental organisations are concerned, to ensure more communication and collaboration on ventures.

Highlighting the work that Jamaica is already doing to integrate HIV into sexual and reproductive health services, the PANCAP Director commented that other regional countries need to follow this example, since the act of linking HIV and AIDS interventions with general reproductive health services, can strengthen both.

The Director pointed out that stronger linkages between sexual and reproductive health and AIDS programme should lead to a number of important public health benefits, including improved access to, and uptake of key services; better access of people living with HIV to services tailored to their needs; reduced AIDS-related stigma and discrimination; improved coverage of under served and marginalised populations, such as sex workers or men who have sex with men; greater support for dual protection against unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, for those in need, especially young people; improved quality of care; and enhanced programme effectiveness and efficiency. (RSM)

No comments:

Post a Comment