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Dereck Springer, Director of the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP), explained that the mission this week is to foster closer collaboration between the PANCAP and the Dominican Republic at the policy and programmatic levels. Mr Springer lauded Dominican Republic’s multi-stakeholder engagement in the response, and he reminded the media that Dominican Republic has been a partner of PANCAP since 2004. The other objective of the mission is to assess the achievements and gaps of the PANCAP Caribbean Social Marketing Project funded by Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau [KfW] (German Development Bank), which is being implemented by PSI and which ends in September 2015.
Dr Victor Terrero, Director of CONAVIHSIDA (the National Council on HIV and AIDS) praised the “harmonious efforts of PANCAP” and said, “PANCAP focuses on the human rights of people living with HIV.” Dr Terrero and Mr Springer are united in their belief that reducing stigma and discrimination among key populations is a vital component of achieving an AIDS-free Caribbean. Tomorrow, Dr Terrero will be escorting Mr Springer to visit Barahona, one of the most affected areas in the country. While there, they will meet with programme implementers who work with the vulnerable populations living and working in the area including migrant workers, sex workers and men who have sex with men.
Dr Luis Ernesto Feliz Baez, Director of DIGECITSS (General Director for Control of the Transmission of HIV and Sexually Transmitted infections) was present at the press conference, and specifically addressed the important issue of migrant Haitians living in Dominican Republic. He said that health centres in the country are fully committed to addressing their health needs as a priority issue to ensure the public health of the country. He emphasised the need for all pregnant women, whether Haitian or Dominican, to get tested for HIV and enrol in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission programme to reduce the risk of having a child who is HIV positive.
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