The Health Policy Project has ended, but work continues under a new USAID five-year project, Health Policy Plus (HP+).
NEWS & VIEWS
More than 30 leaders from NGOs, government institutions, community-based organizations, and advocacy groups participated in a meeting for LGBT issues in Jamaica. Photo by Health Policy Project.
HPP recently helped conduct a one-day workshop entitled “From Strategy to Action: Mobilizing Actors to Scale Up Networking for Human Rights and Health Interventions” in Kingston, Jamaica. The seminar was facilitated by Ken Morrison, HPP Senior Technical Advisor for HIV, and Ivan Cruickshank, Program Manager at Caribbean Vulnerable Communities—an organization comprising community leaders and NGOs that provide HIV services to vulnerable populations in Jamaica.
More than 30 leaders from NGOs, government institutions, community-based organizations, and advocacy groups participated in the meeting, which focused on coordinating efforts to address issues of access to healthcare and HIV services, social justice and human rights, and communication and advocacy efforts to improve the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities throughout the country.
In Jamaica, LGBT individuals face unique challenges that include stigma and discrimination, and a lack of healthcare services and commodities to adequately address the needs of the communities—especially around access to HIV prevention and care services, as well as other sexual and reproductive health programs. In response, participants at the workshop identified the need to improve communication and collective action planning among LGBT organizations and develop a common understanding of key advocacy issues for LGBT communities to bolster the movement for equal rights and access to quality health services.
During the meeting, participants agreed to conduct assessments on how LGBT communities access healthcare services to generate data that will support the push for greater resources and improved services. The various organizations will also coordinate sensitization training for doctors and nurses to improve their ability to respond to the needs of LGBT communities in Jamaica.
To increase awareness of existing challenges, workshop attendees discussed plans to increase the visibility of LGBT perspectives within the LGBT community and share information more effectively. The coalition will also focus outreach efforts to educate external audiences and build alliances with mainstream groups that include the Jamaican police force, churches and religious institutions, and guidance counselors.
The workshop also featured a session on the Global Fund, which provides support for HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria programs. Kandasi Levemore, chairperson of the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) on the Global Fund, explained the proposal process and led a discussion where participants explored strategies to secure funding for programs to better reach LGBT communities. Following the session, attendees nominated and elected a CCM delegate to represent the LGBT community in Global Fund meetings and activities.
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