Jamaica News: The Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Joint United Nations Programme on Human Immunodeficiency Viruses (HIV)/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) – (UNAIDS) – which will activate the Fast-Track Cities programme in Kingston.
The Fast-Track Cities initiative is a global partnership between cities and municipalities around the world with four core partners – the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC), UNAIDS, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and the city of Paris.
Representatives from the Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) and the Ministry of Health and Wellness signed the MOU on Monday (November 25) at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston.
The initiative was launched on World AIDS Day 2014 (December 1). Since then, the network has grown to include more than 300 cities and municipalities that are committed to attain the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets by 2020: 90 per cent of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status; 90 per cent of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy (ART) and 90 per cent of all HIV-diagnosed people receiving sustained ART will achieve viral suppression.
The initiative is also geared towards achieving zero stigma against persons living with HIV/AIDS.
Mayors and other city/municipal officials designate their cities as Fast-Track Cities by first signing the Paris Declaration on Fast-Track Cities, which outlines a set of commitments to achieve the initiative’s objectives.
The city of Kingston signed the Paris Declaration on December 1, 2014.
Mayor of Kingston, His Worship, Senator Councillor, Delroy Williams, said this initiative will help to bring more “understanding” among Jamaicans about the need to fight against diseases such as HIV and help with planning for prevention.
“Understanding is critical to planning and planning is critical to desired outcomes. Understanding, for me, is a process we comprehend through the process of thought. Building the infrastructure of a resilient and healthy city requires understanding. Therefore, the process to create resilience and public health must be deliberately designed to bring the strongest ideas to the front,” Mayor Williams said.
Coordinator, Disaster Preparedness/Project Liaison, KSAMC, Terry Forrester, gave an overview of the targets for the parish of Kingston regarding the initiative.
“Through the development of a project steering committee, a work plan has been approved for Fast-Track Kingston Plus, which includes the development of a city health profile for Kingston which will be displayed on all websites, including the Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation’s website, and the Ministry of Health’s website,” Ms. Forrester said.
“This will provide a comprehensive health profile for the city, which will not be limited to HIV,” she added.
She said environmental sanitation will also be included in the programme, given the various challenges that exist with dengue and other vector-borne illnesses that are heavily driven by the state of the environment.
Among other objectives, the initiative seeks to: provide an overview of the Fast-Track Cities Programme in Kingston; pledge support for the implementation of the Fast-Track Cities Programme; highlight the work being done on the fight against HIV in Kingston; establishment of a framework to address the social determinants of health, including those affecting HIV; and signing of an MOU between the KSAMC and the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
Fast-Track Kingston has also taken a holistic approach for health services in the Shelter Health Programme which has been tailored for the homeless population in Kingston and St Andrew.
The MOU signing forms part of the KSAMC’s Local Government Month activities.
Source: JIS News