Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The CDC CRO, funded by the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), was established in 2002 as a regional office of CDC's Global AIDS Program. The CRO supports governments to implement more effective HIV/AIDS responses in the Caribbean. CRO provides financial and technical assistance to Ministries of Health directly and through regional implementing organizations in four main areas: strategic information, laboratory systems, prevention, and health systems strengthening. CDC CRO works with the 12 countries of the Caribbean Regional HIV/AIDS Partnership Framework (PF): Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. Regional partners include PAHO, PANCAP, UNAIDS, UWI, CHRC, and GF.
CDC CRO Mission Statement:
To improve the public health of the Caribbean countries by supporting national governments and their partners - non governmental, regional and international organizations - in order to characterize and effectively respond to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
HIV Prevention, Strategic Information, Laboratory Systems, Health Systems Strengthening
Goal 1: HIV Prevention -
To contribute to achievement of the Caribbean Region Strategic Framework (CRSF) goal of reducing the estimated number of new HIV infections by 25% by 2013
CDC CRO's priority prevention strategies are:
- HIV prevention services targeted at Populations Most at Risk for HIV (MARPs) including persons engaged in sex work; clients of persons engaged in sex work; people who inject drugs; and men who have sex with men
- Services for people living with HIV and their sexual partners
- Supporting people to know their HIV status
- HIV prevention services to Prevent Mother to Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT):
CRO is supporting Ministries of Health and other partners to scale up HIV rapid testing and quality counseling through training, supervision, quality assurance mechanisms, targeting counseling and testing to MARPs, and monitoring and evaluation.
CRO also provides technical assistance implementation of MARPS focused evidence based prevention interventions.
Goal 2: Strategic information -
To improve the capacity of Caribbean national governments and regional organizations to collect and use quality, timely, HIV and AIDS data. This will allow countries to better characterize the epidemic and support evidence based decision-making to improve programs, policies and health services
- Providing technical assistance and training to partner countries to strengthen HIV surveillance systems in order to better characterize the HIV epidemic
- Strengthening the countries' capacity to plan and implement surveys among Most At Risk populations (MARPS) and to use routine program data to strengthen HIV program activities. MARPS studies are currently being supported in Barbados, Bahamas, Dominica, Jamaica Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.
Goal 3: Laboratory Systems -
To increase the capacity of national governments and regional organizations to improve the quality and availability of diagnostic and monitoring services and systems for HIV and AIDS and sexually transmitted and related infections, including Tuberculosis, under a regional network of tiered laboratory services
- Setting up, in partnership with key laboratory stakeholders in the region, a new strategy that will create a regional reference laboratory (RRL) in Barbados. The reference laboratory will support all the OECS countries and sub regional clinical laboratory hubs in Jamaica, Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago. These hubs will serve as back-up laboratories for each other and will support the other Caribbean countries including Belize and Suriname based on local and national transportation needs and other logistic considerations;
- Providing leadership and guidance to implement a stepwise approach to sustainable quality management systems and facilitating the process of accreditation of laboratories in the Caribbean region in line with the WHO/CDC recommendations. CRO provided both technical and financial support to the Ladymeade Reference Unit (LRU) in Barbados for the implementation of the ISO 15189 Quality Management System (QMS) and eventual CAP accreditation of its laboratory;
- Training of laboratory staff in HIV rapid testing and quality assurance; advanced techniques for TB diagnosis; quality control; and laboratory bio-safety and bio-security
- Improving laboratory capacity through procurement and distribution of equipment - CD4 machines, TB microscopes, and Minus 80 degrees freezers.
- Strengthening Laboratory Management Towards Accreditation(SLMTA)
Goal 4: Health Systems Strengthening -
To improve the capacity of Caribbean national governments and regional organizations to effectively lead, finance, manage and sustain the delivery of quality HIV prevention, care, treatment and support services at regional, national and community levels over the long term
Building national and regional capacity for leadership and management for an effective and sustainable response to HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean through technical and financial support, such as:
- CDC funded Caribbean health Leadership Institute training program at The University of the West Indies in Jamaica
- CDC funded Strategic Information Unit of the Pan Caribbean Partnership for HIV/AIDS within CARICOM Secretariat, Guyana
- Human capacity development within Cooperative Agreements between CDC and the Ministries of Health of Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, St Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Caribbean health research Council (CHRC), and PAHO HIV Caribbean Office (PHCO).
Rachel Albalak PhD
CDC Caribbean Regional Office
US Embassy Bridgetown
Wildey Business Park
Wildey, St. Michael
Recommended links :
- U.S. President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)