Collaborating and learning toward a sustained HIV response in the Caribbean
While the HIV epidemic has been stable in the Caribbean region over the last decade, there is a new focus on achieving the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets to help end the AIDS epidemic. The region is also prioritizing the roll out of the World Health Organization’s Test and Start ( known as Treat All in the Caribbean region) guidelines, which recommends that all people diagnosed with HIV start antiretroviral therapy (ART) as soon as possible and maintain treatment throughout their lives. This is all taking place in an environment of reduced international funding for HIV and calls for country ownership.
The Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP) is a regional partnership of governments, regional civil society organizations, regional institutions, bilateral and multilateral agencies, and contributing donor partners. It serves as a knowledge hub to support its country members to improve the regional and national HIV response and has prioritized the scale up of Treat All across the Caribbean. Within this context, now, more than ever, there is a need to improve regional collaboration, promote sharing and learning opportunities with the aim of scaling up the WHO Treat All strategy across the region.
K4Health-PANCAP Partnership: Collaborating and Learning Toward a Sustained HIV Response in the Caribbean
K4Health and PANCAP work together to systematically and intentionally apply knowledge management techniques to enhance regional collaboration, sharing, and learning. These activities provide opportunities for implementers in the region to learn from each other’s program successes and challenges, and support countries in the region to reach the 90-90-90 targets and move toward implementation of Treat All.
Establishing a Knowledge Management Strategy
At the onset of the partnership, K4Health undertook a process to understand information flows among PANCAP members. We looked at the type of information members needed in order to improve the use of the WHO Treat All guidelines, enhance communication and coordination among members, and share HIV-related content.
Knowledge Capture and Synthesis
The K4Health-PANCAP partnership uses a systematic process to capture, synthesize, and package information and knowledge that is relevant and applicable to the region.
The overall focus of the knowledge products are to document successful programs, provide practical tips, share general HIV epidemiological data specific to the Caribbean region, synthesize dense information into digestible chunks, and share voices and wisdom from the Caribbean – all with the end goal of rolling out Treat All. These have included:
- Documentation of Test and Start (referred to as Treat All in the region) Roll-out in Barbados
- Documentation of a treatment model implemented by Jamaica AIDS Support for Life (JASL), the only civil society organization providing antiretroviral therapy service delivery in an English-speaking Caribbean country
- Fact sheets on HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean
- Animated videos on the 90-90-90 targets in the Caribbean
Sharing Knowledge Among Implementers in the Region
K4Health collaborates with PANCAP to facilitate face-to-face and online knowledge exchange events, during which knowledge management approaches are applied to build stronger networks and strengthen relationships between National AIDS Program Managers and Civil Society Organization (CSO) representatives. Using this approach, countries, and by extension the region, can deliver a coordinated and sustained response to 90-90-90 and Treat All. Some of these knowledge management approaches include knowledge cafes, peer assists, conversation cafes, and after action reviews.
The events—which include workshops, a south to south learning exchange, and a monthly webinar series—facilitate the sharing of best practices. Participants are able to receive updated technical guidance and examine models of care around 90-90-90 and Treat All. Replicable best practices are shared on community prevention and testing services for key populations, models of ART service delivery in the context of Treat All, treatment literacy, and other supportive mechanisms for people living with HIV and AIDS. Appropriately tailored, these can be implemented at national levels with the potential to scale up services along the continuum—focusing on testing the right people, initiating ART as early as possible, and strengthening support services for better ART retention and adherence.
Through the K4Health-PANCAP partnership, the PANCAP website was updated to provide a dedicated online repository and knowledge hub for its members and the greater HIV response in the region.
To increase the visibility of PANCAP within and outside of the region, the K4Health-PANCAP partnership also supports the PANCAP communications portfolio, which includes social media platforms, a monthly eNewsletter, and press coverage for PANCAP-led events. Through these efforts, PANCAP members have an opportunity to remain engaged with each other, appreciate the value of each members’ contribution, and realize the value of a regional HIV response.