About the USAID | Program for Strengthening the Central American Response to HIV/AIDS (PASCA)
The full PASCA website is available at www.pasca.org.
The objective of USAID | PASCA, a task order under the Health Policy Initiative IQC, is to foster a stronger response to HIV/AIDS in Central America by supporting a coherent and unified regional approach to the epidemic. The project focuses on three results as a means of supporting the implementation of improved HIV policies. The project period for PASCA is October 1, 2008, to September 30, 2013.
Result 1: Regional and National HIV/AIDS Strategic Plans Budgeted, Implemented, Monitored, and Supported
USAID has a strong history of helping countries in Central America develop national HIV/AIDS strategic plans, and the region has made great progress in its HIV response. Nevertheless, important challenges remain, including weak information collection systems and a lack of human and institutional capacity to make and implement evidence-based decisions. PASCA coordinates with ministries of health and national HIV and STI programs to evaluate national HIV/AIDS strategic plans and develop the next generation of such plans. Many currently lack mechanisms for realistic priority-setting based on costs and effectiveness. PASCA coordinates with partners to train country counterparts to apply the Resource Needs Model and the GOALS Model to estimate the overall costs of their plans, prioritize interventions, and identify budget gaps. The project provides ongoing assistance to national monitoring and evaluation (M&E) units and supports each country to further refine and implement its national M&E plans. PASCA also provides technical assistance to Regional and Country Coordinating Mechanisms (RCM and CCMs), Principal Recipients, and Sub-recipients of the Global Fund.
Result 2: Regional and National Advocacy Agendas Effectively Implemented
PASCA’s approach to supporting advocacy begins with the understanding that effective advocacy requires strategic information. The project works with local partners to develop advocacy agendas and identify the information needed for decisionmaking. We also collaborate with other USAID cooperating agencies and local partners to further develop analytical models, projections, and socioeconomic impact studies that produce this information and support dissemination.
In addition to producing and disseminating strategic information, PASCA supports civil society and private sector engagement in region’s response to HIV. The project works in partnership with the Central American Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (REDCA) to build the capacity of national PLHIV networks and groups for most at-risk populations; promotes strategic alliances among faith-based organizations and human rights networks; and partners with journalists to reposition HIV on the public agenda. The project also contributes to confronting HIV-related stigma and discrimination by engaging the business sector in the HIV response through the creation and adoption of HIV workplace policies.
At the regional level, PASCA provides technical assistance to build the capacity of the RCM—a key actor in defining the regional HIV policy agenda. We enhance the ability of RCM country representatives to move the regional policy agenda forward and work with the RCM and its donors to identify regional HIV priorities. PASCA also supports the Central American HIV/AIDS/STI Congress (CONCASIDA) and provides training and assistance for the design and implementation of Global Fund projects
Result 3: Policies and Activities Implemented to Mitigate HIV/TB Co-Infection
PASCA focuses on creating opportunities to strengthen the collaboration between HIV and TB programs at the country level. We provide technical assistance to support countries in drafting strategic plans for addressing HIV/TB co-infection and help countries cost their strategies. Recognizing that operational policies are often a major barrier to addressing HIV/TB co-infection, we promote the review of guidelines related to co-infection—helping countries identify potential obstacles and providing guidance to improve or develop operational policies to overcome them.
In addition, the project helps to ensure an integrated approach to HIV/TB co-infection by providing technical assistance throughout the development, approval, and implementation process to countries eligible to receive Global Fund grants for TB. PASCA also coordinates with partners and stakeholders at the regional level to ensure that co-infection is prominently placed on the policy agenda.
USAID | PASCA is implemented by Futures Group International and Futures Institute.
To learn more about PASCA or to access information about HIV in the region, please visit the project’s website at www.pasca.org. Content is available in Spanish and English.