New Alliance partners from El Salvador and Colombia attended the annual “Blue Sky Week” for the first time, joining organisations from Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Mexico, Haiti and the Caribbean. Key regional partners REDTRASEX (a sex workers network) and REDLACTRANS (a transgender network) were also represented.
Attendees shared valuable lessons learned on integrating HIV with other health issues. They particularly focused on some of the challenges of developing and implementing effective programmes to deal with HIV and TB co-infection.
Other sessions looked at achievements and challenges with Global Fund programmes and raising money from other donors, who often regard Latin America and the Caribbean as a lower priority region. It was argued that this may be partly due to a lack of understanding of the implications of HIV in countries with concentrated epidemics.
Participants brainstormed innovative resource mobilisation strategies to meet the challenges of the difficult economic climate.
Linking Organisation Vía Libre, who hosted the Blue Sky Week, also run the Alliance Regional Technical Support Hub for Latin America and the Caribbean. Attendees reviewed plans for the Hub and analysed broader issues related to providing technical assistance in the region.
On Wednesday, attendees visited the offices of Vía Libre to meet staff and learn more about their programmes. They then attended a reception with national and local HIV/AIDS and health stakeholders.
Following the visit, Alliance Executive Director Alvaro Bermejo praised the capacity of Vía Libre.
“We know few Linking Organisations that could combine programmatic and community work with service provision as part of the national health system and build an advocacy strategy based on what they learn in both areas,” he said.