PRESS RELEASE:-Director of PANCAP lauds Ladymeade Reference Unit for integral role in ‘Treat All’ Implementation
Friday, June 23, 2017 (PANCAP Coordinating Unit, CARICOM Secretariat):The Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP)congratulates the Government of Barbados and the Ladymeade Reference Unit (LRU) on 15 years of providing quality HIV and STI services for the people of Barbados and the wider Caribbean Region.
PANCAP also acknowledges the significant achievement of initiation of the ‘Treat All’ programme by the Government of Barbados, through the Ministry of Health and the LRU. The implementation of ‘Treat All’ is being championed by Dr Anton Best, Senior Medical Officer of Health (CD), HIV/STI Programme, Ministry of Health, Barbados.
In 2016, the Ministry of Health (Barbados) adopted the World Health Organization (WHO) “Treat All” approach to HIV care. This meant that all HIV positive persons are now eligible for lifelong therapy, irrespective of their HIV disease stage.
The implementation of this approach is crucial to helping the Government of Barbados achieve the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets by 2020. These targets are: (1) 90% of all people living with HIV knowing their HIV status; (2) 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection receiving sustained antiretroviral therapy and (3) 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy being virally suppressed.
The LRU, which was established on June 26, 2002, has an integral role in the implementation of the ‘Treat All’ programme as one of its central operations is the provision of life saving Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART).
According to Director of PANCAP, Mr. Dereck Springer, ‘It cannot be overstated how critical the role of the LRU has been to People Living with HIV in Barbados and other Caribbean countries’. The Director explained that for other laboratories and medical institutions in the Caribbean which lacked capacity to perform vital tests for monitoring patients with HIV, the LRU became an essential resource for providing those services’.
‘The LRU allows access by other Regional medical institutions to their wide array of laboratory testing for monitoring patients with HIV and expertise,’ stated the PANCAP Director, ‘the contribution it has made to the implementation of ‘Treat All’ and improving treatment outcomes for People Living with HIV is immeasurable’.
The Director further emphasized that other Caribbean countries should take note of the success of the Government of Barbados and the LRU in developing a policy for initiating ‘Treat All’ which is geared to ending AIDS by 2030.
The LRU will officially observe the 15-year Anniversary with a series of events commencing Monday, June 26, 2017.