Cayman establishes regional HIV evaluation

Government officials are working with British and Dutch overseas Caribbean territories to strengthen the region’s response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. 

As part of the evaluation process, team leader and international consultant Dr. Roberto Gutierrez-Ortega from Nicaragua, and sexual health and social protection expert Dr. Katarina Greifeld of Germany, upon request of the European Commission, met with MLA Alva Suckoo, councilor to the minster for health. 

The independent team of consultants met to determine any gaps or needs and to make recommendations in their report to the European Commission.  

According to a statement released by government this week, initiatives facilitated by the project and already undertaken in the Cayman Islands include: development of a draft HIV Policy/Work Plan; staff development; development of the National Health Policy & Strategic Plan (2012–2017); and the development of a National Health Laboratory Policy and Strategic Plan. 

Other plans include working toward certification by the Pan American Health Organization on the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, a quality management review of laboratory support, a parasitology workshop for public and private medical laboratory technologists, and case-based surveillance for HIV patient-care tracking. 

Minister of Health Osbourne Bodden said, “As we continue to tackle HIV/AIDS issues, this opportunity will not only strengthen ties between OCTs [Overseas Caribbean Territories] but will also improve our capacity to respond to such issues both locally and regionally. 

Other participating British Overseas Caribbean Territories include: Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, and Turks and Caicos. The Dutch Overseas Territories are: Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten. 

Suckoo-and-Team

Clockwise from left, Dr. Kiran Kumar, medical officer of health; Dr. Roberto Gutierrez-Ortega, team leader and international consultant; Dr. Katarina Greifeld, sexual health and social protection expert; Alva Suckoo; Laura Elniski, STI and HIV program coordinator; Nancy Barnard, deputy chief officer; and Janett Flynn, policy advisor for health.

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