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UNICEF's contribution to the adoption and implementation of option B+ for preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV: a policy analysis.
Globalization and Health. 2018 Jun 1; 14(1):55.BACKGROUND: Between 2011 and 2013, global and national guidelines for preventing mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV shifted to recommend Option B+, the provision of lifelong antiretroviral treatment for all HIV-infected pregnant women. METHODS: We aimed to analyse how Option B+ reached the policy agenda, and unpack the processes, actors and politics that explain its adoption, with a focus on examining UNICEF's contribution to these events. Analysis drew on published articles and other documentation, 30 key informants interviews with staff at UNICEF, partner organisations and government officials, and country case studies. Cameroon, India, South Africa and Zimbabwe were each visited for 5-8 days. Interview transcripts were analysed using Dedoose software, reviewed several times and then coded thematically. RESULTS: A national policy initiative in Malawi in 2011, in which the country adopted Option B+, rather than existing WHO recommended regimens, irrevocably placed the policy on the global agenda. UNICEF and other organisations recognised the policy's potential impact and strategically crafted arguments to support it, framing these around operational considerations, cost-effectiveness and values. As 'policy entrepreneurs', these organisations vigorously promoted the policy through a variety of channels and means, overcoming concerted opposition. WHO, on the basis of scanty evidence, released a series of documents towards the policy's endorsement, paving the way for its widespread adoption. National-level policy transformation was rapid and definitive, distinct from previous incremental policy processes. Many organisations, including UNICEF, facilitated these changes in country, acting individually, or in concert. CONCLUSIONS: The adoption of the Option B+ policy marked a departure from established processes for PMTCT policy formulation which had been led by WHO with the support of technical experts, and in which recommendations were developed following shifts in evidence. Rather, changes were spurred by a country-level initiative, and a set of strategically framed arguments that resonated with funders and country-level actors. This bottom-up approach, supported by normative agencies, was transformative. For UNICEF, alignment between the organisation's country focus and the policy's underpinning values, enabled it to work with partners and accelerate widespread policy change.
Reproductive Health Matters. 2011 Nov; 19(38):197-207.In March 2009, UN member states met at the 53rd Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) to discuss the priority theme of "the equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including caregiving in the context of HIV/AIDS". This meeting focused the international community's attention on care issues and generated Agreed Conclusions that aimed to lay out a roadmap for care policy. I examine how the frame of "care" - a contested concept that has long divided feminist researchers and activists - operated in this site. Research involved a review of documentation related to the meeting and interviews with 18 participants. Using this research I argue that the frame of care united a range of groups, including conservative faith-based actors who have mobilized within the UN to roll back sexual and reproductive rights. This policy alliance led to important advances in the Agreed Conclusions, including strong arguments about the global significance of care, especially in relation to HIV; the need for a strong state role; and the value of caregivers' participation in policy debates. However, the care frame also constrained debate at the CSW, particularly about disability rights and variations in family formation. Those seeking to reassert sexual and reproductive rights are grappling with such limitations in a range of ways, and attention to their efforts and concerns can help us better understand the potentials and dangers for feminist intervention within global policy spaces. Copyright (c) 2010 UNRISD. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Journal of Health Care Finance. 2010; 36(4):75-79.When the United Nations declared "health care for all" (at the conferences at Alma-Ata in 1978 and the Ottawa Charter in 1986),(1) the declarations were largely premature to impact the upcoming HIV/AIDS epidemic. These UN declarations still apply today, as multitudes of humanity continue to die from what amounts now to be a treatable chronic disease. Can the wealthier, industrialized countries stand by and watch the decimation of the populations of the developing world by HIV / AIDS? The global "health 9/10 gap," relates that only 10 percent of global heath resources go to developing countries - i.e., those having 90 percent of the poorest world populations. (2) The World Bank/World Health Organization has been at the forefront of providing resources for the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, (3) but for many countries of the developing world (especially Sub-Saharan Africa) it may be too little, too late. This work explores the application of an ecological model to global policy against HIV/AIDS, highlighting access to antiretroviral drugs (ARV). ARV distribution is constrained by patents and laws protecting the intellectual property rights of the international pharmaceutical corporations. In response to this situation, more questions arise. Will governments in the developing world invoke compulsory licensing (patent-breaking) in their negotiations with the international pharmaceutical corporations to provide medications against HIV/AIDS in their countries? Can international political and financial negotiations with these pharmaceutical corporations speed the growing push for a solution to this solvable crisis? The answers may lie in the "Brazilian model," that is a developing world government using all means available to provide ARV drugs for all its citizens with HIV/AIDS. The basis of this model includes negotiating with the pharmaceutical corporations over patent rights and importation of copied drugs from the Far East.
In: State of the art: AIDS and economics, edited by Steven Forsythe. Washington, D.C., Futures Group International, POLICY Project, 2002 Jul. 58-63.The Declaration of Commitment of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS (UNGASS) calls for spending on HIV/AIDS programs to increase to US$7-10 billion annually by 2005. The Declaration specifies a number of goals at the global and national level and calls for specific actions to reach those goals, but it does not specify how the funding should be allocated. The Report of the Commission on Macroeconomics and Health estimates that spending on HIV/AIDS in low- and middle-income countries should increase by US$14 billion by 2007 and suggests that US$6 billion is needed for prevention, US$3 billion for care, and US$5 billion for antiretroviral (ARV) treatment. A detailed estimate of spending requirements prepared for UNGASS calls for minimum spending of US$9.2 billion annually by 2005 in low- and middle-income countries to provide coverage of essential prevention, care, and mitigation services in an effort to reach the UNGASS goals. Details of spending needs by category of intervention are shown in Figure 1. A recent analysis shows that these coverage levels are sufficient to achieve the UNGASS goals. However no analysis has been done to show whether this is the most cost-effective approach to achieving these goals or whether the same goals could be reached with less funding and a more strategic allocation of resources. (excerpt)
In: State of the art: AIDS and economics, edited by Steven Forsythe. Washington, D.C., Futures Group International, POLICY Project, 2002 Jul. 2-8.Policymakers need a reasonably complete picture of resource flows from sources to uses that finance HIV/AIDS prevention, care, support, and treatment. Without that picture, they risk misallocation, waste, and faulty strategic planning. For now, in most parts of the developing world, the picture remains largely unpainted. Filling in the details on financing is among the key challenges to HIV/AIDS policymakers today. Limited data for Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region countries offer virtually the only cases of adequate resource flow data outside the United States. Those countries spent a thousand dollars per person living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in 2000. The U.S. federal government’s Medicaid program for indigents spent 35 times as much for each AIDS patient under its care in that same year. Low-income countries, largely dependent on donor assistance, spent far less per person and per PLWHA—as little as 31 cents per person, and eight dollars per PLWHA in sub-Saharan Africa. These enormous disparities underline a dual challenge: First, use what little money is available in poor countries very effectively; and second, demonstrate to all concerned that more resources must be forthcoming to confront the HIV/AIDS pandemic in poor countries, lest the negative effects swamp any effort to develop. (author's)
New York, New York, United Nations Population Fund [UNFPA], 2003. 36 p.The rapid needs assessment tool has been developed through collaborative work with an expert group, and pre-tested in four countries— Bangladesh, Brazil, Ghana, and Kenya. The current report presents the results of these assessments along with issues for consideration in the possible improvement of the needs assessment tool and the recommended process for using the tool. The four reports conclude that while condoms are widely available, and condom use is generally increasing, there is much that could be done to improve their distribution, their promotion, and their utilization, especially among key target groups that are at a high risk for HIV. In all four countries, a significant bifurcation of condom programming was found between the distribution of condoms through family planning services and the promotion and distribution of condoms by HIV/AIDS prevention programs. Little coordination or joint planning of condom programming was found. Overall, the rapid needs assessment tool was found to be valuable and easily adjusted to local circumstances. However, the current forms and process of the assessment tool have incorporated suggestions from field implementers as well as UNFPA collaborators that will strengthen its future implementation. The process of consulting key condom programming managers and policy makers led to the identification of problems and the next steps for solving them (which was an important objective of the tool). In fact, the rapid needs assessment’s bringing together all of the stake holders involved in condom issues for mutual discussion of problems and potential solutions proved effective in all four countries. This process of engagement, discussion, argument, and ultimately, consensus, was probably the most valuable aspect of the exercise. Despite strong efforts to create a rapid needs assessment exercise, in none of the countries could it be implemented within the time frame of the 7-10 days that was desired. While data gathering activities did not necessarily take a long time, the process of scheduling meetings and interviews with high level government officials required a far greater time frame than anticipated – approximately two months — due to travel schedules, local administrative crises, and holidays. (excerpt)