More efficient use of resources critical-HIV/AIDS five-year plan stresses

Stabroek News
January 8, 2007

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If efforts are to be scaled up to meet Guyana's national HIV/AIDS challenges more productive use of present resources is needed in addition to a greater mobilisation.

Guyana's National HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan 2007-2011 underscores this point and emphasises the need for efforts to be harmonised and streamlined to avoid duplication in work plans given that there had been overlapping in some areas in the past. With this missing, the rate at which activities and services are implemented could be affected.

The Strategic Plan notes that Guyana is at a critical point in its HIV/AIDS response where its National Programme is faced with new challenges. As a result there is need for the national response to be scaled-up to deliver more programmes, services and activities that reach a wider cross-section of people.

But in the same vein the plan questions adequacy of resources to implement the strategy outlined.

"The exceptionality of the HIV/AIDS pandemic requires that the resources must be mobilized and Guyana must not be forced to curtail its plan in order to fit available resources", the plan points out.

Though Guyana has been successful in mobilising substantial external resources to fund the 2002-2006 national strategic plan and was able to scale up the response effort within the last few years, certain gaps still remain with respect to human and technical capacity.

According to the new plan, this will affect the ability to operationalize programme activities and a challenge that presents itself is the number of donors who are now part of the response to HIV/AIDS and the co-ordination that that requires in order to guarantee the optimum use of resources, adding that it is crucial that the country develops the capacity to harmonise and align its national strategic plan with the donors' programme areas.

The plan lists a few problem areas which hinder implementation of the strategy outlined such as limited trained staff to fill the positions; insufficient training opportunities for staff and a very complex donor environment.

The plan said many of the donor agencies have different administrative requirements for monitoring and approval of funds which complicates the delivery of activities for persons working in the field, in the clinics and other sectors. In addition, the agencies also conduct multiple planning and assessment missions, in most cases calling on the same in-country staff members for assistance in the process.

Mainstreaming HIV/AIDS into all government programmes to generate an effective response is listed among the guiding principles of the plan for successful implementation. Also included are the need to continue to strengthen and expand the coordinated and multi-sectoral approach and recognising HIV/AIDS as an issue that straddles all sectors, not only health.