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HIV Evaluation Team Visits Cayman

Left to right: 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; Councillor Alva Suckoo, Laura Elniski, STI and HIV Programme Coordinator; Nancy Barnard, Deputy Chief Officer, Janett Flynn, Policy Advisor for Health.

The Cayman Islands are working with other British and Dutch Overseas Caribbean and Territories (OCTs) to strengthen the regional response to HIV/AIDS.

As part of the evaluation process, an independent team of consultants arrived last week to assess the outcomes of the European Commission Overseas Caribbean Territories (ECOCT) six year project. The 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 local officials on Wednesday (23 July). Councillor Alva Suckoo met with the team and thanked them for their work to date.

Dr Gutierrez-Ortega and Dr Greifeld are using the evaluation process to determine any gaps or needs and to make recommendations in their report to the European Commission. Some of the initiatives facilitated by the project and already undertaken in the Cayman Islands include: development of a draft HIV Policy/Work Plan, staff development – participation in various workshops for capacity building, development of the National Health Policy & Strategic Plan (2012 – 2017) and the development of a National Health Laboratory Policy and Strategic Plan.

Other project plans include working towards receiving certification by the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) on the elimination of mother to child transmission (MTCT) of HIV, a quality management review of laboratory support, a parasitology workshop for public and private medical laboratory technologists, along with case-based surveillance for HIV patient care tracking.

Minister for Health Hon Osbourne Bodden explained that the initiative seeks to address common HIV/AIDS issues and needs among OCTs, as well as to craft strategies to strengthen technical cooperation in order to respond more effectively to the needs of each jurisdiction.

“As we continue to tackle HIV/AIDS issues, this opportunity will not only strengthen ties between OCTs but will also improve our capacity to respond to such issues both locally and regionally,” Minister Bodden remarked.

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

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For further information contact: Yvette Cacho




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