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Mar 20, 2014

The official closing of USAID/PASCA Project in Belize

Stakeholders in the fight against HIV/AIDS, a cross-section of government, as well as other non-governmental organizations, including the National AIDS Commission, gathered at the Biltmore this morning to review the achievements of the Program for Strengthening the Central American Response to HIV.  PASCA, as it is known, is a five-year project spearheaded by USAID.  The initiative which is quickly drawing to an end brought to fore the impact that the illness has on our society, the related expenses as well as the transmission rate of the virus within the region.  According to program specialist Giovanni Melendez, PASCA will transition into another program geared towards responding to the specific needs of member countries.

 

Giovanni Melendez, USAID/Guatemala

Giovanni Melendez

“This is the closing event after five years continuously supporting the HIV/AIDS response through one of our projects, PASCA.  PASCA is going to be finished next week and we are trying to present now many of the results achieved during the last five years, basically related to the achievements in strategic information, the measurement of expenditures related to HIV/AIDS, the amount of transmission that [necessitated] research about where the next cases of AIDS will be appearing in the country and what types of populations.  Also, the strengthening that PASCA’s support has provided to some NGOs and also to the National AIDS Commission.  The involvement of the private sector as part of the response in the country.  So we are covering many of the aspects that over the last five years PASCA implemented in Belize and in the region.  So that’s basically the purpose of this meeting.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“The fact that PASCA is coming to an end, what does this mean with regards to either the work that is being done regionally or the impact that this particular work has had on those living with HIV/AIDS and the awareness effort on a whole?”

 

Giovanni Melendez

“This ending of PASCA will be a transition.  The project, when it was created, responded to very specific needs from each country and from the region.  Things like monitoring and evaluation, weakness, now after a couple of trainings and more people, local people [getting] involved in that response, the country now has monitoring, evaluation and a national plan.  So each phase of PASCA usually responds to the needs and gaps that a country identified.  So for the future or for the impact, now we are in the middle of a process to award a new project that is going to respond to some of the needs that the countries and the region are having.”

 

Today’s conference also saw the participation of the Youth Enhancement Service, UNIBAM, as well as the National AIDS Program.

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