NASTAD's Global Program works with governments in the Caribbean Region, including Guyana and Haiti, to support knowledge transfer and applied technical assistance for HIV surveillance, and use of surveillance data for program planning, monitoring, and evaluation. To further facilitate capacity building and knowledge transfer, NASTAD has created Case-based and Biological and Behavioral Surveillance Survey Toolkits. The Toolkits provide an orientation to these surveillance methods, document processes, and share tools and resources for planning and implementation.
In Trinidad and Tobago, The Bahamas and Jamaica, NASTAD is helping to reinforce HIV surveillance systems, supporting both refinement of existing case-based HIV surveillance systems and implementation of surveillance systems for populations at greater risk for HIV, using biological and behavioral surveillance studies (BBSS). Complementing a case-based surveillance system, BBSS research allows for a greater understanding of the local epidemic, better guiding how to target prevention and care programs and resources.
In Trinidad and Tobago, NASTAD is also helping to improve case-based HIV surveillance, with a focus on data collection, quality improvement, and data use. NASTAD's approach is to partner with local Ministry of Health staff to define surveillance needs, implement appropriate surveillance methods, and support the use of data for program planning for long-term sustainability.
SNAPSHOT: TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
In Trinidad and Tobago, the Ministry of Health (MoH) has identified HIV/AIDS surveillance among high risk groups as a national priority. In order to execute the MoH's strategic information plan, NASTAD engaged with Trinidad and Tobago in 2011 to plan for national biological and behavioral surveillance surveys (BBSS) among these groups. NASTAD provides support to the MoH in the form of planning, implementation and supervision, drawing on 20 years of HIV surveillance experience in the United States.
To inform and engage professionals in the field of HIV in Trinidad and Tobago, NASTAD and the MoH hosted a series of bio-behavioral surveillance BootCamps for members of the Steering Committee, created to advise the MoH on its behavioral surveillance activities. Following the BootCamps, NASTAD selected and trained field staff for survey implementation.
NASTAD and the MoH have implemented one bio-behavioral surveillance survey (BBSS), and will repeat the process with another target group in 2014 and 2015. These surveys were guided by information gathered from a comprehensive secondary data review and formative assessment. Field staff training and plans for use of the bio-behavioral surveillance data are ongoing throughout the process.
In addition to the BBSS activities, the MoH implemented an improved and expanded case-based HIV surveillance system nationwide in 2013, with technical assistance from NASTAD. Data from the case-based surveillance system is providing a foundation for epidemiological analyses of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Trinidad and Tobago, and will be essential for interpretation of results of the bio-behavioral surveillance surveys.
NASTAD's collaborative approach to technical assistance has allowed the MoH to begin to achieve their strategic information objectives concerning case-based surveillance and surveillance among high-risk groups in Trinidad and Tobago. With assistance from NASTAD, data from case-based surveillance and the BBSS research will start to be disseminated to stakeholders by mid-2014.
SNAPSHOT: The BAHAMAS
NASTAD is collaborating with The Bahamas Ministry of Health (MoH) to implement bio-behavioral surveillance among groups at higher risk for HIV infection. NASTAD’s initial engagement with The Bahamas MoH began in late 2010, and since then, NASTAD has worked with the MoH to conduct workshops on bio-behavioral surveillance, compile data for a secondary data report, and implement a formative assessment, all in preparation for the surveillance initiative.
NASTAD has also supported the MoH to develop and use stakeholders, in the form of a Steering Committee that provides guidance to the MoH and NASTAD as the project moves forward. This committee has reviewed results of the formative assessment, validated the secondary data review, and advised on a protocol for the implementation of a bio-behavioral surveillance survey (BBSS).
NASTAD’s partnership with The Bahamas MoH will continue to promote committed relationships and foster ongoing and sustainable infrastructure for implementation of bio-behavioral surveillance.
The Ministry of Health (MoH) in Jamaica partnered with NASTAD in 2014 to implement bio-behavioral surveillance among a group at risk for HIV infection. NASTAD’s involvement to date has included engagement of stakeholders in survey planning, compiling secondary data, and planning for the formative assessment to precede the BBSS research activity.
NASTAD’s work with the Jamaica MoH builds on existing relationships with higher risk groups in the country, and a commitment to gathering quality surveillance information for evidence-based program planning.
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