Multi-Sector Participation In The National Response To Prevent And Address The Hiv/Aids Epidemic In The Republic Of Cuba, 2007-2008
AbstractThe development of a strong national response involving multiple sectors—including civil society—is an essential aspect of the social management of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The goals of this response are to control the epidemic and improve the quality of life for people living with HIV/AIDS; this includes combating stigma and discrimination, as well as ensuring due compliance with the law. Cuba has a national program to prevent and control HIV/AIDS. Since 2003 Cuba’s national program has received material and financial support from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Program evaluation is carried out by an independent team at ENSAP (National School of Public Health). This paper reports on results of one part of that evaluation: an assessment of the agencies and sectors who made up the organized social and national response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The evaluation primarily used qualitative analyses of the activities and tasks proposed by sectors in their 2006-2008 work plans. Visits were made to the provinces of Ciudad de la Habana, Matanzas, and Holguín. Qualitative techniques included in-depth interviews, semi-structured interviews, observation, and review of documentary evidence of all kinds (videos, reports, minutes, protocols, results of social research, and radio broadcast messages) and varied depending on the particular features of each sector. We noted improvements in multi-sector participation in the prevention and response to the national HIV/AIDS epidemic. Conscious of their role, sectors generally carried out their programmed activities and had improved their organization, planning, and systematization; integration among the sectors was also better. These local initiatives provided evidence of a multi-sector response characterized by autonomy, emotional involvement, and an identification with the goals of the project; this went beyond simply meeting targets. Cross-sector work showed a marked increase and a qualitative leap in management compared with the previous evaluation. Interviewees from different sectors all considered discrimination and stigmatization of people living with HIV to have decreased, both within their organizations and in the general population.