Monday, October 17, 2016, GEORGETOWN GUYANA: The Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV&AIDS, PANCAP, has formed a partnership with the Knowledge for Health (K4Health) Project to significantly enhance the capacity of the PANCAP Coordinating Unit (PCU) and to aid all PANCAP members in knowledge generation and sharing with regard to the new World Health Organization (WHO) ‘Test and Start’ guidelines.
The K4Health Project, based in Baltimore, United States, is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau for Global Health,Office of Population and Reproductive Health and implemented by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP).
According to Director of PANCAP, Dereck Springer, the new partnership will transform the way in which knowledge management and sharing is done among the PANCAP member countries with particular regard to the new WHO guidelines for HIV/AIDS treatment eligibility.
‘Study evidence shows that the earlier persons living with HIV start antiretroviral treatment, they have better health outcomes,’ stated the PANCAP Director, ‘however to achieve this paradigm shift, the resources required for diagnostics and treatment, staff education, and clear and consistent public messaging about the benefits of Test and Start, must be understood by health and other key decision makers. The K4Health Project will assist with packaging and sharing vital information necessary for PANCAP members to begin the process of educating health care workers and the public about commencing treatment immediately after a HIV positive diagnosis’.
According to Knowledge Management Advisor, K4Health Project, Sarah Fohl, ‘our goal is to bring PANCAP partners together to share best practices and improve access to information that is vital to HIV testing and early treatment in concise, well-packaged communication products that can be easily accessed and utilized by policy makers, health care professionals, civil society organizations, and all entities involved in the eradication of the virus’.
The K4Health Project will conduct a number of other initiatives including knowledge sharing events and workshops for PANCAP members which are designed to increase learning opportunities and exchange of best practices throughout the Caribbean region related to the implementation of the new early treatment guidelines.
The Knowledge Management Advisor further explained that K4Health will be instrumental in revamping and relaunching the PANCAP website with fact sheets, policy documents, brochures, and other communication products which will concisely illustrate the importance of commencing early HIV treatment after a positive diagnosis as well as other issues related to addressing stigma and discrimination’.
‘Our overarching aim is to support the PANCAP Coordinating Unit’s mandate to demonstrate PANCAP’s value in contributing to a regional HIV response,’ stated Ms. Fohl, ‘ we believe that through enhanced knowledge generation, sharing, and learning among PANCAP members, we can effectively support the scale up of “Test and Start” in the Caribbean Region’.
WHAT IS PANCAP?
PANCAP is a Caribbean regional partnership of governments, regional civil society organisations, regional institutions and organisations, bilateral and multilateral agencies and contributing donor partners which was established on 14 February 2001. PANCAP provides a structured and unified approach to the Caribbean’s response to the HIV epidemic, coordinates the response through the Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework on HIV and AIDS to maximise efficient use of resources and increase impact, mobilises resources and build capacity of partners.
Knowledge for Health (K4Health)
The mission of the Knowledge for Health (K4Health) project is to improve family planning and reproductive health services in low- and middle-income countries. We are working to change the way family planning knowledge is accessed, shared, and used.