The Public Health Ministry on Thursday signed an agreement with the non-governmental group Alpha and Omega to provide services to persons infected with and affected by HIV/ AIDS in various regions.
The Ministry, as the principal recipient of the Global Fund grant, signed the agreement with the sub recipient or implementing partner, Alpha and Omega Community Health Associates.
The project, which will run for some 14 months, will be implemented in what has been described as key populations in Regions Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), Five (Mahaica-Berbice) and 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice).
Dr Morris Edwards from the Public Health Ministry said the National AIDS Programme Secretariat has a number of implementing partners, when implementing programmes from the Global Fund.
“The Ministry of Public Health advertised for two sub-recipients to come on board. It was a competitive process. We had five applicants, and of those five, two were successful. We had Alpha and Omega and SASOD”.
Minister within the Education Ministry Nicolette Henry, who also serves as the chair of the country coordinating mechanism for the management of Global Fund said the project is very important as it will provide support to those who are affected by the social malady.
“This $28 million is intended to provide support to persons affected by and infected with HIV. There are three programmes that Global Fund provides funding to Malaria, Tuberculosis (TB) and HIV. This grant is specifically for HIV and is in specific regions”.
President of the Alpha and Omega Community Health Associates, Dr Karen Gordon-Boyle, said the not for profit organisation had worked under the previous Global Fund project. As such, the staff has extensive knowledge of working with the key populations.
“Our methodology is to engage NGO’s from those regions who know the hotspots, who know where to find the key population. We will be mapping out in each region; we will be engaging the NGO’s and members of the key populations who know themselves, so that they could be able to find their social networks and we are going to be able to reach them with HIV messages and HIV testing”.
Dr Gordon-Boyle said anyone found to be HIV positive will be enrolled in treatment.
The main objective of the project is to reduce the prevalence of HIV within the key populations. She said the selected regions have been targeted since they have been disproportionately affected by HIV, compared to the general population.