Message of condolence on the passing of Dr. Michel De Groulard, HIV and Public Health advisor to the Caribbean

The Minister of Health, on behalf of the Ministry of Health and the various stakeholders in the fight against HIV in Guyana, is saddened by the sudden passing of Dr. Michele de Groulard, the former Joint United Nationals Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Country Director in Guyana.  Michel lived in Trinidad and Tobago for many years. A French citizen, Michel moved to the Caribbean and served as an international civil servant, mainly with UNAIDS for more than thirty years. In his time in the Caribbean, he also worked as a public health officer in the Ministry of Health, Grenada and as a Project manager for HIV with the Caribbean Epidemiology Center (CAREC) in Trinidad and Tobago.

Prior to coming to the Caribbean to live and work among the people of the Caribbean, Michel chose to work in remote villages in the Cameroon and Mauritiana.

He joined UNAIDS in 2001 as a senior Partnerships Advisor and, subsequently, served the region in several positions with UNAIDS, including in several stints in Guyana.

Just one month ago, Michel concluded a two-year appointment as interim Country Director for the Guyana-Suriname office of UNAIDS. But it was Michel who opened the Guyana-Suriname office UNAIDS office when it first opened in 2005. After Michel was replaced in the Guyana-Suriname office, he continued to serve UNAIDS in the Caribbean in various capacities.

Michel is remembered for his considerable contributions and advocacy to address gender issues, risk and vulnerability and barriers to access health care services, especially for people living with HIV and the LGBTQ communities. It is his strong advocacy for people living with HIV that led him to work with UNAIDS to help establish the Caribbean Network of People living with HIV in 1996 and the establishment of the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition in 2005. For several years he was Vice Chair of Community Actions Resource, Trinidad and Tobago’s oldest organization serving people living with HIV.

It is in this regards that we also remember Michel. In the years he spent in Guyana as the Country Director for UNAIDS, starting in 2005, he helped organized persons living with HIV in Guyana and also provided vital support to organize the LGBTQ and the sex workers populations in Guyana. Michel was an ardent supporter of SASOD Society Against Sexual Orientation Discriminationin Guyana. SASOD has been the leading NGO that has fought for the rights of the LGBTQ communities in Guyana. Michel played a significant role beginning in 2005 in advancing Guyana’s own struggle against stigma and discrimination directed against vulnerable communities such as people living with HIV and the LGBTQ communities.

Just as he was with us in Guyana as we expanded the Prevention-of-Mother-to-Child-Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV back in 2005, just as he was with us in Guyana as we fought against stigma and discrimination, he was also with the Ministry in 2021 when Guyana launched its Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) program against HIV.

Guyana was a beneficiary of resources coming from Global Fund. Guyana remains a beneficiary to this day. Back in 2005 when Guyana was a major beneficiary of resources from Global Fund to fight against HIV, TB and Malaria, Dr. Michel de Groulard was an important source of technical support for the Guyana HIV program. When he returned to Guyana as a UNAIDS advisor, he continued to be a technical advisor to the HIV program in its application for grants from GF.

The first ever mobilization of Parliamentarians in the Fight against HIV and AIDS in the Caribbean was in Trinidad and Tobago and the second one was in Guyana. In July 2005, Michel worked with the then Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, and with the UNFPA, to organize the first Parliamentarians against HIV/AIDS in Guyana. At the time the Guyana forum was one of only a few that had taken place in the world by 2005. 

The Ministry of Health extends our deepest condolences to the family, close friends and associates.