Since Wednesday, the regional outreach organization, PAN Caribbeans Partnerships Against HIV & AIDS (PANCAP), has been in Belize for its 2012 annual general meeting at the Biltmore Plaza hotel.
PANCAP is an organization with multinational membership that has been operating since 2001 to try to get the HIV/AIDS epidemic under control in this region.
Today, representatives of the organization gave the media a briefing about the topics they discussed in the AGM for the past 3 days.
Here's what they told us:
Volderine Hackett - Head, Strategic Information and Communication, PANCAP Coordinating Unit
"PANCAP is really the regional mechanism that was established by CARICOM heads of governments to respond to the HIV/Aids epidemic in the Caribbean. PANCAP was established on February 14, 2001 because the situation in the Caribbean was bad. We were having a number of deaths etc., and so we had to have a dedicated response to the deal with the epidemic. PANCAP is really a combination of governments, UN agencies, regional institutions, civil society, and regional networks of persons living with HIV and AIDS. And they have all come together under one strategic framework to design and implement programs that would respond to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In the governance structure of PANCAP, the annual general meeting is the highest decision making forum. That is where all our partners would come together to assess our progress that has been made from the year before, to see what the gaps are, and to see what are those specific decisions that have to be taken to take us forward. It's essentially about sharing the progress that we have made, and deciding how we are going forward. This year's theme was 'PANCAP: Forging New Paths'. The whole issue of stigma and discrimination, and how it's impeding the Caribbean's response, issues relating to the funding situation, as you may aware of, the global economic crisis that has had an impact on the partnership. There is less funding to implement programs and so on, and so those are some of the issues that we have been dealing with, and as to what are the decisions that we have to make to go forward in spite of this crisis, and that our Caribbean is protected from the negative impacts of the HIV and AIDs epidemic."
The AGM was chaired by the Jamaican Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Kevin Fenton Ferguson. Belizean Minister of Health, Hon. Pablo Marin, addressed the gathering on Wednesday.