In its Position Paper, which it presented to the Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda in December, the Coalition highlighted the importance of having a national plan in line with best practice and the UNAIDS principle of the Three Ones, to which the government of Antigua and Barbuda is committed.
The RRC emphasised the importance of a national plan for ensuring a coordinated national response, achieving universal access, and securing international funding for HIV and AIDS. The Coalition called for full inclusion of civil society organisations, including marginalised communities, in the development and implementation of the plan. The Position Paper also highlighted the importance of a multi-sectoral response to HIV and called on parliamentarians to provide leadership in the response, and to mainstream HIV programming into their respective ministries.
The RRC, which represents nine civil society organisations and includes Antigua’s Clinical Care Coordinator, has been working collaboratively with the Ministry of Health and National AIDS Programme. The Minister of Health and Chief Medical Officer have shown strong commitment to the development of a plan and the Prime Minster and members of Cabinet were supportive of the RRC presentation. The Ministry of Health invited the RRC to provide technical support and guidance in the selection of consultants who will lead the planning process, anticipated shortly, with support from UNAIDS Barbados. RRC has welcomed its inclusion in the Ministry’s process.
ABOUT THE RED RIBBON COALITION
The Red Ribbon Coalition was formed soon after a training conducted by the Caribbean HIV&AIDS Alliance (CHAA) in March 2009 to strengthen the advocacy capacity of civil society organisations. CHAA’s advocacy training was first piloted in Trinidad, drawing on tools from the Alliance’s ‘Advocacy in Action Toolkit’, and has been adapted to the specific contexts of countries where CHAA has programmes.
CHAA has given ongoing support to the RRC through provision of technical material to support the advocacy strategy, as well as development of its Position Paper and presentation to cabinet.
The Coalition welcomes its inclusion in the Ministry’s process of developing a national strategic plan in Antigua