Thursday, March 12, 2015

Health Ministry To Reach MSM, Commercial Sex Workers Through Church

In light of the recent results of the Baseline Survey: Knowledge, Attitude & Practices Regarding Child Maltreatment in Jamaica and a Gleaner report on March 10th - Church Rape Cover-Up - Sex-Abuse Victims Intimidated By Predator Pastors and the strong homophobic sentiments of which the church is loud news has come that faith based organizations will be engaged by the Ministry of Health's HIV programs. Sad that the report excerpted below from the Gleaner chose to use outdated words such as 'prostitutes' and 'gays' it shows that some media folks also need some sort of engagement with the use of the proper terms.

also see: Another St Thomas Pastor Accused of Rape ........... Where are Anti Gay Religious Groups?

here is the Gleaner report:

The Church and other faith-based organisations have been targeted by the Ministry of Health (MoH) as part of a campaign to improve attitudes and behaviours among vulnerable high-risk groups such as homosexuals and prostitutes, and to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Under a programme dubbed the Surveillance, Prevention and Control of Diseases, the ministry is to dole out $22 million in the 2015/2016 fiscal year to faith-based organisations to develop and implement discrimination-reduction strategies.

In addition, $16 million is to be spent on supporting the capacity building of people living with HIV/AIDS and community-based organisations.

Approximately $298 million is to be spent next year on the programme, which is funded by grants from the United States Agency for International Development. At least 4,535 homosexuals are to be targeted for small-group level HIV preventable interventions.

Additionally, 6,537 prostitutes will be targeted for similar interventions during the course of the fiscal year.

The Surveillance, Prevention and Control of Diseases has among its objectives the reduction of HIV transmission by delaying initiation, promoting abstinence, and increasing condom use among sexually active adolescents. It also seeks to reduce the stigma and discrimination surrounding HIV/AIDS.

HIV Statuses

Among the targets set for the programme is to increase the number of gay men who know their HIV status; increasing the number of prostitutes who use condoms, and to increase the percentage of registered businesses and public-sector institutions which have HIV and AIDS workplace policies and programmes.

Up to February, 2,853 gay men have been reached for small-group level HIV preventable interventions and 4,557 prostitutes reached for similar intervention. More than 71,700 persons who received testing and counselling services for HIV received their results.

The 2015/2015 fiscal year will see $148 million being expended on reaching the 4,535 homosexuals and the 6,537 prostitutes.

Meanwhile, another programme - the Transitional Funding Mechanism - is providing $114 million in the 2015-2016 fiscal year to deal with HIV-related issues.

A $65-million programme is to be implemented includes the counselling and testing of 563 men who have sex with men, to make them aware of their HIV status. In addition, there is to be the testing of 1,320 female sex workers to make them aware of their status.

Up to December, the ministry reached 833 gay men, counselled and tested them, and made them aware of their HIV results. Some 1,534 female prostitutes were also counselled and tested and made aware of their status, and 2,994 gay men from the targeted audience were reached with HIV prevention activities.

also see: 
Health Minister Says Boldness Needed to Change Buggery Laws for HIV Prevention Work to be Effective


Will these FBOs who are so discriminatory in large part be welcoming of this or be accommodating? given their hypocrisy over the years as they are so loud against homosexuality yet quiet when their own is accused of inappropriate sexual contact with minors and condemnation for LGBT rights. The few FBOs and pastors who openly show tolerance and support are sometimes shunned by the rest of the church community.

Today's cartoon also reflects some of the sentiments as of late since the horrible murders and sexual abuse reports of children yet the religious right groups who marched in Half Way Tree are deafeningly silent.

JFLAG in association with PANCAP also launched - 

“Mitigating Risks and Enabling Safe Public Health Spaces for LGBT Jamaicans” in February to foster the development of an enabling environment where LGBT people’s right to health are promoted and respected in order to increase access among the population. J-FLAG is contracting the services of a consultant to develop information, education and communication (IEC) materials to promote the right to health, understanding health facilities and avenues for reporting discrimination perpetrated in healthcare facilities.

Objectives of the Project 

1. To create/expand population friendly health services in five health facilities 

2. To develop the capacity of NGOs to advocate for tailored programmes in healthcare facilities for LGBT population 

3. To reduce stigma and discrimination against LGBT persons , including LGBT people living with HIV at five healthcare facilities Relevant Technical Interventions & Project Activities Reduced Stigma and Discrimination within the Health Sector The health care sector is critical to the management and control of HIV as it is the central point of access to HIV testing, treatment, care and support including prevention services. 

It is therefore critical that the health care sector, particularly public health, is one in which PLHIV and key populations perceive and experience an environment that is free from stigmatisation and discrimination. 

The following strategies seek to address this problem: 
i. Conduct ongoing orientation, sensitisation and training in medical ethics, stigma and discrimination and other HIV related matters including sexual and reproductive rights. 

ii. Health policy development to require health institutions to conduct ongoing orientation, sensitisation and training in medical ethics, stigma and discrimination, sexual and reproductive rights and other HIV related matters. 

iii. Seek amendment of legislation that governs health professionals and other health staff to specifically include the requirement for patient confidentiality and enforce disciplinary action for breaches. 

iv. Examine policies, practices, systems and enforcement mechanisms across the health sector to determine if and how these may undermine patient confidentiality with a view to addressing gaps and adjusting structures and procedures to maintain and strengthen confidentiality. 

v. Strengthen disciplinary and accountability structures within the health sector to effectively address breaches of standards including patient confidentiality. These structures will be promoted widely for increased use by clients of health care facilities.

Scope of Baseline Assessment 
In order to meet objective 3, J-FLAG is contracting the services of a consultant to develop information, education and communication (IEC) materials to promote the right to health, understanding health facilities and avenues for reporting discrimination perpetrated in healthcare facilities. 

Specific Objectives of the Consultancy 
1) To review the existing IEC materials at the following health facilities: 
i) Montego Bay Type 5 Health Centre 
ii) May Pen Health Centre 
iii) Maxfield Park Health Centre 
iv) St. Ann’s Bay Health Centre 
v) Alexandria Health Centre 
vi) Port Maria Health Centre 

2) Engage the major stakeholders to identify the type of IEC materials and content needed. 

3) Review the applicable national and regional policies in order to develop IEC materials that speak to clients’ and workers’ rights and responsibilities 

4) Develop and/or update the IEC materials and relevant lessons learnt


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