An Interview with PANCAP Director Dereck Springer
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.
Could you please describe PANCAP’s work in the region?
Our name, PANCAP, stands for the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS. We were created to lead the regional response to HIV. Our members include governments, regional civil society organisations, regional institutions and organisations, bilateral and multilateral agencies, and contributing donor partners.
PANCAP is engaged in high-level advocacy to remove policy and legislative barriers to access sexual and reproductive health and HIV services for all. We provide a voice to the community and civil society, and to that end, we have renewed and brokered new partnerships with faith leaders, parliamentarians, and key populations, including men who have sex with men, sex workers, transgender persons and youth, to create an enabling environment for achieving the right to health. We also support service delivery; for example, we’re currently fulfilling a mandate to develop and transfer regional public goods to countries and support them to operationalize their HIV programme to meet national, regional, and global targets. We continue to build strong strategic alliances with development partners for mobilizing resources and sustaining national and regional responses in an environment of declining donor funding. PANCAP is a catalyst for enhancing the capacity of core PANCAP partners, including the Caribbean Network of People Living with HIV, and facilitating the development of organisations, such as the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition, into independent collaborating entities of the Partnership. The PANCAP Coordinating Unit, which serves as the Partnership’s secretariat, is currently leading HIV communication in the region through the new PANCAP website and social media, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
On World AIDS Day, what is PANCAP’s vision for the Caribbean, and how does knowledge management play a role in achieving that vision?
An AIDS Free Caribbean is PANCAP’s vision, which is consistent with the UNAIDS goal of ending AIDS by 2030. Knowledge management is crucial in helping PANCAP to achieve its vision. It helps us to keep our partners updated on new developments in HIV, to synthesize regional epidemiological information and for evidence informed decisions and HIV programming, and to engage in advocacy geared towards ending AIDS. The knowledge management approaches we have learned make it easier for us to share country experiences and tools for implementing Treat All, including information on programmes and strategies for reaching and retaining key populations in treatment and care. Knowledge management approaches, such as, webinars, peer assist and knowledge cafes, provide information and tools required by partners for ending AIDS. For example, PANCAP is using knowledge management to build capacity of national AIDS programme managers and civil society organisations to gather, synthesise, and package information for various stakeholders including key population groups, technical partners, and policy makers.
As PANCAP’s Director, what is your vision for the upcoming year?
My vision for 2018 is the creation of a PANCAP roadmap, which would outline how the Partnership can sustainably support country responses that are geared towards achieving the 90-90-90 targets by 2020. I look forward to providing the leadership required for streamlining and refocusing the Partnership for sustainability and quantifying PANCAP’s value to countries for increased buy-in and ownership of this novel mechanism. Also in 2018, I’d like to see us assess our progress through an evaluation of the programme of work articulated in the Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework on HIV and AIDS 2014-2018, operationalise our Resource Mobilisation Strategy to garner new resources from the Global Fund, private sector and other partners, collaborate with partners to increase key populations’ access to prevention, treatment, care and support services in a non-discriminatory environment; and advance our Justice for All programme through capacity building and support for networks of champions, faith leaders, parliamentarians and youth to serve as advocates.
K4Health has been honored to partner with PANCAP for the past year. What are your thoughts on the partnership?
In a very short time, K4Health has transformed how the PANCAP Coordinating Unit communicates with our Partnership. It has succeeded in raising the visibility and profile of PANCAP and has revolutionalised the Coordinating Unit’s use of social media to reach our key stakeholders, including the media and public. The success of the PANCAP-K4Health partnership provides evidence of how important it is for new partners to spend time listening to each other and the project beneficiaries before conceptualizing a project. This approach has enabled us to respond to the knowledge needs of our national AIDS programme managers, civil society, and regional partners. It is a partnership that I am very proud of, and I am honoured to be part of this knowledge management revolution that is occurring within the Partnership. I feel a sense of satisfaction when I witness our partners using knowledge management approaches that they learned by doing. I look forward to the partnership expanding its reach to the public in 2018. This partnership exemplifies great value for the investment.