GHARP II inaugurated to bolster campaign against HIV/AIDSWednesday, July 15, 2009 – 9:52 am
Source: The Guyana Chronicle
THE second phase of the Guyana HIV/AIDS Reduction and Prevention Programme (GHARP II) was inaugurated last Friday at the Lot 266 Forshaw Street, Queenstown, Georgetown office.
New GHARP II Chief of Party, Ms. Silvia Gurrola Bonilla, who addressed a press conference ahead of the formalities, said it would be of three and a half years duration, replacing GHARP I which started in 2005 and ended in March 2009.
GHARP I was managed by Family Health International, under Chief of Party, Mr. Kwame Aseidu, working closely with the Ministry of Health, Civil Society, Private Sector partners and other donor agencies, with the focus, primarily, on providing access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services.
It also assisted the Ministry of Health in scaling up and expanding HIV/AIDS programmes, which included the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT). Other programmes executed during the five years were Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT), Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) and Home Based Care (HBC).
Essentially, the role of GHARP II is to provide assistance and support to the Ministry of Health, with a view to strengthening HIV/AIDS programmes currently managed and coordinated by the National AIDS Programme Secretariat (NAPS) and, simultaneously, delivering high quality technical assistance and support to civil society organisations funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and other stakeholders.
Bonilla said, germane to achieving these outcomes is adherence to certain guiding principles, such as collaboration and partnerships with key stake holders; the design and delivery of evidence based programmes and strategies, while building on existing programmes and systems to ensure sustainability.
She said the continuing undertaking will, as well, embrace themes like gender awareness and integration with NAPS and U.S. Government initiatives.
In broad outline, Bonilla said the goal of GHARP II is to implement effective local HIV/AIDS prevention and control programmes and secure the active involvement of the populations at risk and People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA).
Director of Prevention, Dr Karen Gordon Boyle, outlining the approach to effect strategies addressing targeted populations, noted that there is a huge focus, this time around, on prevention.
She said the project will be building and expanding the strength and scope of existing prevention projects in the regions that are most at risk, too.
&#We will be targeting the most at risk populations, especially men who have sex with men (MSM), female commercial sex workers, miners, loggers and in and out of school youths,” Boyle pointed out.
She emphasised the importance of faith based organisations (FBOs) in the prevention thrust and said the project will seek to engage them, while working with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the Private Sector through Guyana Business Coalition.
Boyle said emphasis will be placed on capacity building, which aims at effectively coordinating and leveraging donors and other stakeholders, while reaching out to most at risk populations (MARPs) with messages that effectively encourage and support behaviour change.
This phase evolving under Bonilla is managed by Management Sciences for Health (MSH), a private non-profit educational organisation, with expertise in strengthening health systems globally.
It previously worked locally as a sub-partner on GHARP I.
Other implementing partners are Howard Delafield International (HDI) and AIDS Health Care Foundation (AHF), which has a track record of applying marketing principles and techniques to address public health issues.
As a partner on the previous GHARP Project, HDI provided leadership on the Private Sector initiative which led to the establishment of the Guyana Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS and the condom marketing drive.
AHF, though new to this country, has established an international reputation for providing high quality care and treatment to socio-economically disadvantaged HIV/AIDS patients worldwide, Bonilla assured.