Responding to the HIV Crisis in the Dominican Republic
JSI’s Merce Gasco speaking about the role of CSOs in the region
In October 2017, JSI’s USAID-funded Advancing Partners & Communities (APC) project, in conjunction with PEPFAR and other partners convened a meeting with Ministry of Health officials, donors, and civil society members in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (DR) to discuss sustainable responses to the national health system.
The primary focus of the meeting was to gather key stakeholders in the HIV arena to complete the Sustainability Index and Dashboard (SID). The SID is a participatory tool that sharpens understanding of the country’s sustainability landscape to inform HIV investment decisions and priorities across 15 key areas.
The meeting was also an opportunity to showcase innovative responses to the HIV crisis by civil society organizations (CSOs) in the DR, in particular the work being piloted under the National Institute for Health (INSALUD) consortium. JSI, through APC’s Local Capacity Initiative (LCI) has provided technical assistance to INSALUD and its consortium for the past two years. Through a series of three workshops, concrete steps were taken to explore solutions to guarantee the consortium’s sustainability and support its efforts to respond to HIV and other public health issues in the DR. About 17 organizations who work with underserved populations in the HIV/AIDS arena participated in these workshops. INSALUD led efforts to formalize networks in which CSOs provided services complementary to those provided by the public system.
This innovative approach aims not only to ensure CSO sustainability but also to respond to the national HIV crisis by examining long term, non-externally funded solutions. CSOs are working together to directly engage with the government in order to ensure they can advocate for their people.
JSI’s Merce Gasco spoke about the role of CSOs in the region. She mentioned that including CSOs at the table with donors and the government was recognition of the important role that civil society plays in the Dominican Republic’s response to HIV.