Dereck Springer is Director of the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP)
For the past year, K4Health has partnered with PANCAP to support its role as a regional leader in the Caribbean’s HIV response. In honor of World AIDS Day, we interviewed PANCAP’s Director, Dereck Springer, about the partnership, his work, and PANCAP’s vision for an HIV-free Caribbean.
Photo: PATH/Chimwasu Njapawu. The Global Digital Health Forum convenes in Washington DC next week. This year’s theme is “The Evolving Digital Health Landscape: Progress, Achievements and Remaining Frontiers.”
The annual Global Digital Health Forum is scheduled for December 4-6th in Washington DC. Though the Forum features amazing presentations every year, one of the most valuable aspects of this event is having the world’s digital health implementers, donors, and champions in one space. The dialogue and strong relationship building between ministries of health leaders, technical developers, and other players in our field is what makes this conference special.
When I was first learning about family planning methods as a teenager, there were seemingly two real options: condoms (for men, obviously—whoever heard of a female condom?) and the pill. I heard whispers of patches and injectables, but these were followed up with dire warnings from my friends about side effects. The idea of an implant in my arm was terrifying, and an IUD? You may as well have suggested parking a spaceship in my uterus. Besides, wasn’t that something for moms who’d had all their kids already? And, come on, a sponge? Really?
I’m relieved to say I’ve learned plenty since then. Although I don’t have a background in public health, working at CCP has shored up my education in all things family planning. After four years here on the K4Health Project, I can comfortably discuss the various types of IUDs and explain why they’re a great method for many. I know about female condoms and how to use them, and I’ve even learned more about my old friend, oral contraceptive pills. Yet, as technology marches on, even newer family planning methods are reaching the marketplace. And in a world with 85 million unintended pregnancies per year and women still dying in childbirth daily, that’s good news for everyone.
Pathfinder International | Technical Advisor, Community Engagement
Community health workers from Gikomero, Rwanda meet to discuss peer support groups. L-R: Joseph Ntahomvukiye, Immaculée Cimpaye, Marguerite Wiremera, and Jean Murasankiko.
In the Burundian village of Muyebe, a female volunteer community health worker (CHW) visited a family on several occasions, intending to discuss family planning. Each time, the 36-year-old father of nine said he was not interested in hearing about it. One day, the community health worker arrived with three other CHWs, male and female, from neighboring communities, all members of her CHW peer support group. On this occasion, the father allowed them to stay and talk about the benefits of family planning and the many methods available, including vasectomy, which they informed him was now available at the local hospital. After the CHWs left, he used the referral they had provided and went to his local hospital to request a vasectomy.