By Anna Carroll, Associate, Global Program, NASTAD
In 2003, a small cohort of NASTAD technical assistance providers visited Port-au-Prince, Haiti to explore the possibility of providing support to the Haiti Ministry of Health (MoH) as it developed its HIV surveillance system. Over the following years, NASTAD partnered with the MoH to design, pilot, and implement one of the few, high-functioning case surveillance systems in the developing world. Today, after ten years of successful collaboration, NASTAD Haiti has an office in Port-au-Prince staffed by 10 local public health practitioners, and has expanded its work to support not only HIV case based surveillance but also enhanced perinatal surveillance of HIV-positive pregnant women and their HIV-exposed babies, and surveillance of HIV/TB co-infection.
NASTAD Haiti’s 10th Anniversary Commemoration coincided with its third annual Partners Meeting. Importantly, this year marks 10 years of collaboration not only with the Haiti MoH, but also with many other Haitian partners. From the earliest stages of its work in Haiti, NASTAD focused on developing local partnerships and relationships in order to leverage the wealth of local knowledge and expertise in the field of infectious disease surveillance in Haiti. NASTAD has worked closely with a wide number of organizations, ministries, and individuals over the years to identify opportunities for improvement in the surveillance systems in Haiti, and to provide appropriate technical assistance and support.
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The range and strength of NASTAD Haiti’s local partnerships was clear at its Partners Meeting last week. Over 50 people attended, representing four different divisions of the MoH and 14 additional organizations, ranging from U.S. government partners to local health care workers and administrators to NGO partners. Dr. Joelle Deas, Director of the MoH’s National AIDS Program, opened the meeting by thanking NASTAD Haiti for its 10 years of service to public health in Haiti. The partners then discussed current and future HIV surveillance activities in Haiti, including the evolution of the case-based HIV surveillance system, the results of the new perinatal HIV surveillance/service linkage pilot, and findings from a recently completed study on HIV prevalence among pregnant women.
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Congratulations to NASTAD Haiti staff for all of the work that you do to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Haiti, and thank you to all of our partners for your continuous support and guidance. We look forward to another successful and fruitful 10 years!
If you are interested in learning more about what NASTAD is doing in Haiti to improve HIV and infectious disease surveillance, strengthen health systems and build capacity, please contact Mark Griswold.
Visit NASTAD.org/global to learn more about the NASTAD Global Program.
Dr. Barbara Roussel, Erlantz Hypolite, Nadjy Joseph, and Mark Griswold also contributed to the development of this post.