US, Jamaica sign multi-million cooperative health agreement for HIV interventions

KINGSTON, Jamaica — The United States, through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), has signed a cooperative agreement with Jamaica’s Ministry of Health and Wellness for interventions for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), non-communicable diseases as well as global health security.

It was signed under the theme strengthening access to and delivery of quality public health services for prevention, care and treatment of HIV, STIs, addressing diseases of public health importance, and advancing global health security in Jamaica under PEPFAR.

The award became effective on September 30, 2020 and was solidified by a symbolic signing ceremony, held today.  According to the US Embassy, over J$140 million have been awarded so far with an award ceiling of over J$490 million.

The embassy said the cooperative agreement will prioritise activities to drive progress toward HIV epidemic control in Jamaica and will focus on strengthening laboratory and strategic information systems, using international best practices and policies as the framework.

It said the successful implementation of the activities outlined in this cooperative agreement will improve the quality, availability, timeliness, and use of data to guide clinical and programmatic decisions.

Noting that this collaboration will have a positive impact for Jamaican citizens, the embassy said “ultimately the USG-MOHW partnership will enable effective patient management for better health outcomes”.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, United States Ambassador to Jamaica Donald Tapia asserted that, “With over J$140 million already awarded, this cooperative agreement is a further example of how the US Government is absolutely committed to collaborating with the Government of Jamaica on a variety of crucial health issues.”

CDC’s Caribbean Regional Office Country Director Dr Varough Deyde also noted that “CDC and PEPFAR value the partnership with the Jamaica Ministry of Health and Wellness, which provides a platform to strengthen and expand HIV programming in Jamaica and fast track achievement of epidemic control.”

Meanwhile, State Minister in the Health and Wellness ministry, Juliet Cuthbert Flynn said, “I am very pleased with this collaboration, as partnerships in healthcare have never been more critical than in this era of COVID-19. The cooperative agreement which we are signing today with the CDC represents a significant partnership that will help us to improve treatment, prevention and care for persons living with HIV. The ministry is committed to this engagement and delivering on key mutual priorities.”

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