Country ownership and capacity development central in moving forward the response to AIDS
29 July 2011
In the past decade, increased commitment and funding has enabled countries to boost their HIV responses. However, many of the gains remain fragile as countries face challenges to take charge of their own AIDS responses.
Following the High Level Meeting on AIDS where world leaders agreed on bold targets, UNAIDS convened a workshop in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to strengthen investments in capacity development of six sub-Saharan African countries—Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria and Swaziland.
The focus of the workshop was on increasing country ownership in their AIDS response. The workshop also encouraged countries to share experiences and indentify bottlenecks. According to participants, some of the key challenges include limitations in programme implementation, poor governance systems, lack of leadership and human resources and uneven financial and management capacities
“The area of capacity development is a learning area for Ethiopia. Through this workshop we have learnt from the obstacles and challenges faced by countries and how to avoid those pitfalls,” said Alemu Arno Ararso, Director of the Multi-sectoral Response Coordination at the Federal HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office (FHAPCO), Ethiopia. “We know that investing in capacity development will help our country achieve its AIDS objectives and expected results,” Mr Ararso added.
We know that investing in capacity development will help our country achieve its AIDS objectives and expected results
Director of the Multi-sectoral Response Coordination at the Federal HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office, Ethiopia, Mr Alemu Arno Ararso
The six countries have received grants from the EC to develop and implement technical support plans, addressing issues such as governance systems, leadership development, human resources and financial management capacities.
Ghana, Nigeria and Swaziland have integrated their technical support and capacity development plans into their national AIDS strategic frameworks and are starting implementation. Ghana plans to utilize the EC grant to bring together development partners to discuss the creation of a pooled fund for the provision of technical support. In addition, Ghana is working with academia to establish training programmes in health systems strengthening and monitoring and evaluation, with a view to building long-term and sustainable country capacities.
At the end of the workshop participants emphasized the importance of national partners with organizations such as universities. Special mention was given to the fact that, despite countries’ efforts to scale-up in-country capacities, migration of skilled professionals has reduced the impact.
“As efforts evolve from an emergency to a more sustained response, country capacities now need to be developed in a range of core areas,” said UNAIDS Team Leader in the Aid Effectiveness and Country Capacities Division, Angela Trenton Mbonde. “Country ownership and capacity development should play a more central role in moving forward the AIDS response,” she added.
The country inputs and experiences shared throughout the workshop will inform the revision of the UNAIDS Capacity Development Guidance Note intended to promote a common understanding of capacity development in the context of technical support planning and national HIV programmes.