Merger of HIV Programme with NFPB a Good Move by Government

Photo: Yhomo Hutchinson Executive Director of the National Family Planning Board (NFPB), Dr. Denise Chevannes, makes a point at a JIS Think Tank on October 27. Looking on is Director, Health Promotion and Prevention, Andrea Campbell.

Story Highlights

  • The decision taken by the Government to merge some aspects of the National HIV Programme with the National Family Planning Board (NFPB) is being hailed as a critical move in ensuring the sustainability of the country’s sexual and reproductive health response.
  • Executive Director of the NFPB, Dr. Denise Chevannes, made the comment at a Think Tank on Tuesday, October 28, at the Jamaica Information Service’s (JIS) head office in Kingston.
  • The 2013 merger has resulted in the creation of a single Authority for Sexual Reproductive Health. The move also addresses the absence of a clearly identifiable AIDS authority.

The decision taken by the Government to merge some aspects of the National HIV Programme with the National Family Planning Board (NFPB) is being hailed as a critical move in ensuring the sustainability of the country’s sexual and reproductive health response.

Executive Director of the NFPB, Dr. Denise Chevannes, made the comment at a Think Tank on Tuesday, October 28, at the Jamaica Information Service’s (JIS) head office in Kingston.

The 2013 merger has resulted in the creation of a single Authority for Sexual Reproductive Health. The move also addresses the absence of a clearly identifiable AIDS authority.

Elements of the former National HIV Programme, specifically dealing with prevention, were integrated into the family and population planning programmes of the NFPB, making the Board the lead Government agency in the national HIV/sexual reproductive health response.

Dr. Chevannes said the move was important for several reasons, among them is ensuring greater cost efficiencies and economies of scale in the face of reduced funding to address sexual and reproductive health and HIV.

She noted that Jamaica’s classification as upper middle income means that the country can no longer access as much donor funding for health programmes.

“The limited funding has had a serious and deleterious impact on our programmes, and so with this integration, the ability to merge both human and financial resources means that we are able to operate much more efficiently,” she explained.

Dr. Chevannes said the integrated agency is now ready to take the delivery of sexual and reproductive health services to a higher level.

“It will provide a one-stop shop. Instead of going to get family planning methods at one location and go to another to get an HIV test, those services can now be met in one visit,” she pointed out.

The NFPB is observing National Family Planning Week from October 25 to 31 under the theme: ‘Building Families, Building our Nation: A Focus on Vulnerable Populations’.

JIS Social