According to UNAIDS, almost two percent of Jamaica’s adult population has HIV/AIDS. Estimates also indicate that more than half of Jamaicans carrying the virus do not realize they are infected. High poverty and unemployment rates, gender inequality, and a growing commercial sex trade (including sex tourism) added to the high numbers of people infected unknowingly, making Jamaica extremely vulnerable to a more severe HIV epidemic.
Jamaica’s government responded to the country’s HIV and AIDS epidemic by creating the National HIV/STI Programme and the National AIDS Committee (NAC). The NAC is comprised of more than 100 member organizations and works under Jamaica’s Ministry of Health to coordinate the government, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations’ response to the country’s epidemic. For more than a decade, MEASURE Evaluation worked with the government and other partners in Jamaica to help strengthen the country’s monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system and improve the country’s response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. MEASURE Evaluation's work in Jamaica ended in 2014.
MEASURE Evaluation conducted a Priorities for Local AIDS Control Efforts (PLACE) study, which is a rapid assessment tool developed by MEASURE Evaluation to monitor and improve HIV/AIDS prevention program coverage at venues where HIV transmission is likely to occur, such as bars where people meet new sexual partners and places where injection drug users share needles.
MEASURE Evaluation’s survey support for PLACE activities in Jamaica included:
- Data collection training, including observation of interviewing and specimen collection techniques, followed by one-on-one discussions of necessary adjustments to improve future data collection.
- Data dissemination and use (DDU) workshops conducted with the Jamaica M&E Reference Group.
- Written reports and presentation of study results at a dissemination event held in Kingston by USAID implementing partner C-Change.
- Final submission of PLACE findings to the National HIV/STI Program and the USAID Mission in Jamaica.
Additional MEASURE Evaluation work in Jamaica included:
- Pilot-testing of the Operational Guidelines for Monitoring and Evaluation of HIV Programmes for Sex Workers, Men who have Sex with Men, and Transgender People, guidelines which are customized to assist individuals and organizations involved in monitoring and evaluating the HIV response for key populations.
- Building M&E capacity among Jamaica’s primary HIV stakeholder organizations to develop M&E systems capable of collecting complete and accurate data in a timely manner.
- Using mHealth tools and methodologies to monitor Jamaica’s peer educator services in two regions of Jamaica and learn more about the potential of mobile technologies for the M&E of health programs.
- Creating an advocacy video depicting the positive impact that using data can have on individual health as well as on a health system.