BASSETERRE, St. Kitts (SKNIS) – The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) is currently assisting St. Kitts and Nevis with the completion of its National Integrated Plan for HIV/TB/STI/VH (viral hepatitis).
Once completed, the plan is expected to provide the Ministry of Health with a roadmap to guide the interventions required to effectively prevent and control these communicable diseases.
A team of consultants from PAHO is in the Federation and has begun meeting with various stakeholders critical to the completion and implementation of the strategic plan. The first event was a stakeholders meeting held at the Solid Waste Management Corporation conference room today, Monday, October 17, 2022.
Addressing that meeting, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Hazel Laws commented, “This stakeholder consultation provides the ideal forum for discussion of the draft situational analysis and the draft plan. We would like to ensure that this Strategic Plan meets the need of our population and it must be aligned to the UNAIDS Global AIDS Strategy 2021-2026 with its three strategic priority areas and ten priority actions.”
The Chief Medical Officer also outlined a number of deficiencies in the HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and viral hepatitis response that she hopes will be addressed under the strategic plan.
She said, “Some of these include, one, a few caps in the legal framework that hinder, for example, adolescents under sixteen from accessing services. We have some funding gaps and human resource for health challenges. We also need to forge closer partnerships with our key stakeholders to ensure that the services are accessible to all the key populations and vulnerable persons. Another challenge is how do we effectively reach the millennials – generation Y and generation Z – with regards to encouraging them to reduce or not engage in risky sexual behaviour.”
PAHO Consultant, Dr. Ayanna Alexander gave a review of the Strategic Plan before participants were split into working groups to look at the goals, objectives and activities of the Strategic Plan.
Over the next few days, the PAHO team will engage with other health and education stakeholders in St. Kitts and Nevis as well as with representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs).