EU bolsters Caricom AIDS response with 1.6M euros pact
Stabroek News
July 21, 2004

Related Links: Articles on AIDS
Letters Menu Archival Menu

The Caribbean's fight against HIV/AIDS has received a further boost with the signing of a 1.6 million euros agreement between Caricom and the European Union (EU).

A release from the EU said the funds would be used for the extension to the regional programme on `Strengthening the Institutional Response to HIV/AIDS/STI in the Caribbean (SIRHASC) which is designed to build the capacity of key regional institutions and national authorities to reduce the spread and impact of the disease.

The agreement was signed by Dr Edward Greene of Caricom on June 27 and by EU Resident Representative Per Eklund on June 30 at their respective offices. The agreement will be for an 18-month period.

The release said that while the value of the agreement for the "no-cost extension" is in the amount of 1.6 million euros, the total financial commitment for the project is 6.9 million euros.

According to the release, the agreement was signed against the background of the recommendation of an External Mid-Term Review of the project that concluded that the project was "a success story and a catalyst for change in the Caribbean regional dynamic against HIV/AIDS." Specifically, the evaluation report identified the progress made in providing advanced level training in HIV/AIDS-related disciplines; the strong linkages being forged between training and re-search and national-level policy formulation; in-creased public participation of persons living with HIV/AIDS; increased regional harmonisation of biological and behavioural surveillance and monitoring and evaluation; and the scaling up in the response to the HIV epidemic in the region as tangible outcomes of the project.

The extension of the project will allow for the consolidation of these gains while addressing major areas of deficit that have been identified.

As a result, the focus will be on promoting prevention, care and support strategies at the national level; strengthening monitoring and evaluation systems to measure the effectiveness of HIV/AIDS programmes in the Caribbean; linking national networks of persons living with HIV/AIDS with health facility-based outreach activities; and promoting regional information-sharing and exchanges on HIV/AIDS best practices.

The Caricom Secretariat and its implementing partners have expressed confidence that the continuing support for the project by the European Commission will serve to further advance regional and national efforts towards reducing the spread and impact of HIV/AIDS, especially among the most vulnerable sections of the population.