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One Authority for Sexual Reproductive Health, through the integration of the National Family Planning Board and some aspects of the National HIV Programme, has been implemented.

This was disclosed by Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, during his contribution to the 2013/2014 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on June 25.

He explained that this initiative will address the issue of the absence of one clearly identifiable AIDS Authority.

“The integrated organisation will give effect to one of the key strategies outlined in Vision 2030 Jamaica National Development Plan, which is to expand and improve integration of family planning, maternal and child health, sexual and reproductive health and HIV/AIDS into primary health care,” Dr. Ferguson said.

He pointed out that the sustainability of the HIV programme has been at the forefront of discussion for more than a year, as more than 80 per cent of the amount spent on the programme each year was from external funding.

Dr. Ferguson said now that much of that external funding support is no longer available, the government has to take decisive steps to improve efficiencies and achieve greater economies of scale to try and secure the gains of the programme.

“Through funding from the World Bank and support from UNAIDS and the Planning Institute of Jamaica, we completed a sustainability study to enable us to make evidence based decisions. The results of the study justified our decision to use what we can agree is the best practice approach of integrating the existing sexual and reproductive health programmes,” Dr. Ferguson said.

The implementation of one Authority for Sexual Reproductive Health became effective in April 2013.

Contact: Latonya Linton