Chairman of the National HIV/AIDS Commission, Dr. Carol Jacobs, believes the Caribbean must fully understand the importance of engaging all countries of the region in the expanded response to HIV regardless of their assigned World Bank economic classification.

Her comments were made during the opening ceremony of an International Labour Organisation (ILO), United States Department of Labour (DOL) HIV workplace education dissemination workshop at the Savannah Hotel last evening.

The outgoing chair of the Board of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria noted that “several countries in the Caribbean remain excluded from funding on the basis of the current economic classification as high income countries.”

Dr. Jacobs said: “Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Trinidad and Tobago and the Bahamas have recently been classified as high income countries and will, therefore, continue to be ineligible for grant funding from international financial institutions like the Global Fund.”

The NHAC Chairman commended the ILO and US DOL for their continued support to Caribbean countries in spite of their economic classification.

“Your workplace education programme will go a long way in fostering the enabling environment within which all our partners in the region, across the mainland territories, small island states and overseas territories will be engaged.

I have been encouraged by your work with the directors and members of the AIDS Foundation of Barbados, who have continued to respond to the challenge of engaging the local private sector, “Dr. Jacobs said.

The three-day workshop is expected to: critically examine achievements of the project and its contribution to the national strategy; review tools and guidelines, resource material developed and the national capacity established in training and technical advisory services, among other things.

There will also be extensive discussion on the national sustainability plan and initiatives underway for its operationalisation and the importance of a sound monitoring and evaluation system on which to assess progress and make programming and policy decisions.

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