World Aids Day observation draws focus on access to healthcare


The Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP) has launched its observation of World Aids Day with a major focus on the right for infected persons to access healthcare.

Countries around the world will be observing World Aids Day today, December 1, 2017. It is a time for governments and organizations to reflect on the progress they’ve made in addressing issues surrounding HIV/AIDS.

Dr Manorma Soeknandan

Here in the Caribbean, the prevalence of the disease remains high but major strides have been made in raising awareness and in administering treatment as well as other support services.

Vivian Rookhum, the Senior Project Officer of the Local Capacity Initiative Project on PANCAP, during a simple event at the CARICOM Secretariat, reflected on some of the progress made in the region.

“Since its establishment in 2001, PANCAP has seen many successes including unprecedented collective regional negotiations for five pharmaceutical companies for significant price reduction for ARVs (antiretroviral) drugs, the sharpest regional decline of HIV incidents by 48.1% between 2001 and 2013,” he stated.

Rookhum also noted that the region has also recorded a decline in AIDS-related death by 50% from 2000 to 2016.

Deputy Secretary-General Dr Manorma Soeknandan in brief remarks drew focus to the theme of World Aids Day which is Right to Health.

“Many constitutions include as one of the rights that they recognize, right to health. But what does it mean for the lady who is about to deliver but the doctor at the hospital first needs to see the slip that the money has been deposited at the bank? Right to health, isn’t it?” she said.

PANCAP said it recently finalized its five-year implementation plan for a coordinated and streamlined approach for systems advocacy, access to justice, redress, community and health services and financing and sustainability that will assist in creating an enabling environment for vulnerable groups to access HIV prevention and treatment without the fear of stigma and discrimination.

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