U.S. Based Contacts
Luisa Pessoa-Brandao
(Caribbean and Saint Lucia)
Tel: 612 716 0336
Email: lpessoa-brandao@NASTAD.org

Rhonda Phill
(Bahamas)

Robin Flanagan
(Trinidad)

Michelle Batchelor
(Guyana)
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NASTAD Caribbean

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 the generated surveillance data for program planning, monitoring, and evaluation.

  • In Trinidad and Tobago and The Bahamas, 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 integrated biological and behavioral surveillance (IBBS) studies. Complementing a case-based surveillance system, IBBS studies allow for a greater understating of the local epidemic, better guiding how to target prevention and care programs and resources.

  • In Guyana and Haiti, NASTAD is helping to reinforce HIV surveillance systems, with a focus on case-based HIV surveillance data collection, quality improvement, and data use.  

NASTAD's approach in the Caribbean Region is to partner with local Ministry of Health staff to define their surveillance needs, plan and implement appropriate surveillance methods, and support the use of data for evidence-based programs and planning. NASTAD's peer-based approach supports the goal of local ownership and implementation for long-term sustainability. To further facilitate this institutional knowledge transfer, NASTAD has created Case-based and Integrated Biological and Behavioral Surveillance Toolkits that provide an orientation to the methods, document processes, and share tools and resources to expedite planning and implementation.

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 integrated biological and behavioral surveillance (IBBS) surveys 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 begun one bio-behavioral survey, and will repeat the process with another risk group in 2013 and 2014. 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 IBBS 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.



SNAPSHOT: GUYANA

NASTAD is collaborating with the Guyana Ministry of Health (MoH) to reinforce and expand the country’s case-based HIV/AIDS surveillance system. Though an HIV case reporting system has been in place for many years, it was underutilized and outdated, as compared with World Health Organization (WHO) and Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) guidance. With NASTAD’s support, the MoH has successfully piloted a revised HIV case report form, trained staff at reporting facilities around the country, and launched the new initiative. The new system and process is successful in capturing incident HIV diagnoses, as well as prevalent cases and disease progression, as voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) sites, prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) sites, and care and treatment (C&T) sites are reporting on key sentinel events.

Over the next year, NASTAD will be working with the MoH to review and analyze the case-report data, and to undertake data triangulation exercises in order to successfully profile the HIV epidemic in Guyana. Read the full country profile.

SNAPSHOT: The BAHAMAS

NASTAD is collaborating with The Bahamas Ministry of Health (MoH) to implement bio-behavioral surveillance among groups most at 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 conducted workshops on bio-behavioral surveillance, compile data for a secondary data review 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) has been submitted and is under review. All of this has been done while engaging members of the HIV community and other stakeholders in The Bahamas through the formation of a Steering Committee for the project.

NASTAD’s supported partnership with The Bahamas MoH will continue to promote committed relationships and foster ongoing and sustainable infrastructure for implementation of bio-behavioral surveillance. Read the full country profile.