Jamaica's Redress Rebrand: One Step Closer to Stigma-Free Facilities
December 4, 2017
In mid-November, to raise awareness and promote redress, the Jamaican Network of Seropositives (JN+) launched the re-branded Jamaica Anti-discrimination System for HIV (JADS), formerly the National HIV-Related Discrimination Reporting and Redress System.
Reporting and redress systems, such as JADS, allow for the documentation of discrimination, facilitate resolution, and are an essential part of a comprehensive stigma and discrimination response. Through JADS, Jamaicans can report cases of HIV-related discrimination and potentially receive mediation and/or damages.
For the past several years the Health Policy Plus (HP+) project, and its predecessor Health Policy Project, has been supporting JN+ and the Ministry of Health, a JN+ redress partner, to strengthen and evaluate their redress systems. In August, HP+ provided training to public sector healthcare workers and JN+ redress officers on the Ministry's Complaint Management System and the importance of addressing stigma and discrimination in healthcare facilities. In October, HP+ organized an additional training for JN+ redress officers and presented them with locking file cabinets, improving the system's ability to protect confidentiality.
The launch of the re-branded anti-discrimination system provided an excellent opportunity to promote JADS and showcase success stories of people living with HIV who both received redress and became engaged in the national HIV response through JN+. Sandra McLeish, HP+ Jamaica's country director, who was at the event, said "People reported feeling empowered. The redress system helped to reaffirm for them that, despite their serostatus, they are still entitled to the same human rights as everyone else." This message was underscored by Arlene Harrison Henry, Jamaica's public defender, who emphasized the need for equal human rights for all Jamaican citizens.