May 14, 2008

World Bank committed, the Senate . . . not so much

The World Bank released their new agenda for action on HIV/AIDS in Africa today.  Entitled "Our Commitment: World Bank's Africa Region HIV/AIDS Agenda for Action 2007-2011" it does pretty much what it says - lays out the World Bank's plan of action for dealing with HIV/AIDS in Africa over the next four years. I've only perused it so far, you can download it here, but it attempts to make the case for how the World Bank is going to move their focus from emergency relief mode to long-term, sustainable development mode by integrating their HIV/AIDS response into broader development efforts that take into account the changing dynamics of the epidemic.  With new infections still on the rise in Africa it will be interesting to see how these efforts play out on the ground and in what areas of the pandemic it is actually feasible to shift from relief to development.  It also acknowledges the World Bank's shift from the role of major funder for HIV/AIDS programs to that of "development partner and complementary funder."  In that new role it lays out these goals for the agenda:

• Strengthen the long-term prioritized sustainable response through incorporating HIV/AIDS more explicitly into national development agendas, focusing the response, articulating realistic strategies built on solid evidence generated by good M&E, and integrating HIV/AIDS efforts with those of other diseases.
• Intensify and accelerate a targeted multisectoral response by interventions in
education, transport, agriculture, and health; and by working with the private sector, CSOs, and local governments.
• Build stronger national systems to manage the response effectively and efficiently in health service delivery, financial management and procurement, supply chain management, human resources, and social services.
• Strengthen donor coordination by maintaining the commitment to the Three Ones and working effectively to rationalize the global aid architecture for health.
Ironically enough one of the funding sources that has supplanted the World Bank as a major donor for HIV/AIDS programs in Africa, PEPFAR, also found itself in the news today but for much less laudatory reasons.  Sadly this type of behavior is nothing new, although, as I mentioned previously, I still think President Bush is going to see this as a legacy issue (what other options does he have?) and go to bat for it in the end.

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