In January, representatives from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the World Bank AIDS program, and the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) met in Washington to discuss ways of improving coordination between their programs.
These programs have grown very quickly and have large projects in many countries. Some recipient countries complain about lack of coordination, stress on health systems, program duplication, and reporting burdens. It is a very positive step that all three major AIDS programs met to discuss these challenges and ways that they could work better to reduce stress on the countries. In the report, (PDF, 271K) which I wrote, the four action items agreed to for this year are:
- Coordination of procurement planning in five countries;
- Joint annual implementation reviews in ten countries;
- Planning for and incentivizing coordination among program staff; and,
- Improving country HIV/AIDS strategies and annual action plans.
These four measures, as well as additional encouragement from headquarters to field and program staff, will go a long ways towards improving coordination and reducing burdens on the countries. Coordination is not free, and staff need to be given the time, training, and encouragement to make it work.
The HIV/AIDS Monitor program at the Center for Global Development tracks the performance of the three programs, conducts analyses on the different approaches, and facilitates a wider discussion on the effectiveness of these and similar programs. We will continue to monitor efforts by the Global Fund, the World Bank, and PEPFAR to improve their coordination.