PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Haiti’s Minister of Health and chair of the Executive Board, Dr Florence Duperval Guillaume, has called on members of the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP) to strengthen coordination efforts and to foster closer integration at all levels.
The minister was delivering remarks to the official opening of the nineteenth meeting of the Executive Board of the Pan Caribbean Partnership (PANCAP) on Wednesday in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Alluding to the effects of global developments on the Caribbean’s ability to maintain its response, the minister noted that PANCAP was a collective based on goodwill ”[and] despite the international financial crunch, there is a sufficient flow of goodwill and understanding of the need to maintain and accelerate the momentum of the PANCAP response”.
She reminded that, through PANCAP, “the voices of the community and Civil Society are heard at the highest level of decision making in the Community.”
The minister drew attention to the progress made by Haiti in curtailing the spread of HIV and AIDS. Recent statistics for Haiti indicate from a peak national prevalence of 5 percent in 1993, it was now at 2.2 percent.
In this context, she stated “[Haiti} should continue to receive the attention of financial and technical assistance partners at all levels.”
She called on the board to provide clear information on how the partnership’s engagement with Haiti could be enhanced and in what areas it could provide critical assistance.
In her brief welcome remarks, Sophia Martelly, First Lady of Haiti, noted that it was the first time the partnership as a collective was meeting in haiti, and that this was symbolic of the commitment of the partnership and delegates to the HIV and AIDS epidemic in the Caribbean. She called on the partnership to step up its efforts to eliminate mother to child transmission.
The official opening was chaired by Myrna Bernard, director and officer-in charge of the Directorate of Human and Social Development, CARICOM Secretariat.
The officer in charge noted, “Even as the PANCAP network engaged Haiti in advancing its effort to reduce its prevalence rate and to increase its access to prevention, treatment, care and support, the hosting of this meeting here today, is a signal of Haiti as an equal partner in the regional process to reverse the spread of HIV and AIDS.”
CARICOM youth ambassador, Dwayne Gutzmer, gave the vote of thanks.
Gutzmer said, “There is plenty of work that has been done and even more work lies ahead to ensure the continued and collective advances in this fight against HIV and AIDS in the Caribbean.”
Drawing attention to the resilience of the Haitian people, the youth ambassador expressed confidence that necessary skills, talents and resources to move the partnership forward existed.
The one-day meeting, among other issues, will review the financial status of regional projects being implemented by the PANCAP Coordinating Unit and the findings of the recently completed Donor Resource Mapping Project.
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 was established in 2001 and is the regional mechanism responsible for coordinating the Caribbean’s response to the HIV and AIDS epidemic.