Articles tagged as "National responses"

Reduction in the incidence of invasive pneumococcal disease following vaccination

Effects of vaccination on invasive pneumococcal disease in South Africa.

von Gottberg A, de Gouveia L, Tempia S, Quan V, Meiring S, von Mollendorf C, Madhi SA, Zell ER, Verani JR, O'Brien KL, Whitney CG, Klugman KP, Cohen C; GERMS-SA Investigators. N Engl J Med. 2014 Nov 13;371(20):1889-99. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1401914. Epub 2014 Nov 11.

Background: In South Africa, a 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) was introduced in 2009 with a three-dose schedule for infants at 6, 14, and 36 weeks of age; a 13-valent vaccine (PCV13) replaced PCV7 in 2011. In 2012, it was estimated that 81% of 12-month-old children had received three doses of vaccine. We assessed the effect of vaccination on invasive pneumococcal disease.

Methods: We conducted national, active, laboratory-based surveillance for invasive pneumococcal disease. We calculated the change in the incidence of the disease from a prevaccine (baseline) period (2005 through 2008) to postvaccine years 2011 and 2012, with a focus on high-risk age groups.

Results: Surveillance identified 35 192 cases of invasive pneumococcal disease. The rates among children younger than 2 years of age declined from 54.8 to 17.0 cases per 100 000 person-years from the baseline period to 2012, including a decline from 32.1 to 3.4 cases per 100 000 person-years in disease caused by PCV7 serotypes (-89%; 95% confidence interval [CI], -92 to -86). Among children not infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the estimated incidence of invasive pneumococcal disease caused by PCV7 serotypes decreased by 85% (95% CI, -89 to -79), whereas disease caused by nonvaccine serotypes increased by 33% (95% CI, 15 to 48). Among adults 25 to 44 years of age, the rate of PCV7-serotype disease declined by 57% (95% CI, -63 to -50), from 3.7 to 1.6 cases per 100 000 person-years.

Conclusions: Rates of invasive pneumococcal disease among children in South Africa fell substantially by 2012. Reductions in the rates of disease caused by PCV7 serotypes among both children and adults most likely reflect the direct and indirect effects of vaccination.

Abstract Full-text [free] access

Editor’s notes: There has been a marked reduction in invasive pneumococcal disease in high-income settings following the roll-out of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. The reduction in incidence of pneumococcal disease has been observed not just among vaccinated infants but also among older children and adults, indicating herd immunity. This study is the first to report on the population impact of pneumococcal vaccination given at six weeks, 14 weeks and nine months of age in an African setting with a high prevalence of HIV and high antiretroviral therapy coverage. Following the introduction of infant pneumococcal vaccination in 2009, the incidence of laboratory reported invasive pneumococcal disease (defined as hospitalised person with positive cultures from sterile sites) declined by 89% for pneumococcal conjugate vaccine -7 (PCV-7) serotypes. A reduction in the incidence of non-vaccine serotypes of 20% indicates that some, but not all of this reduction may be due to improvements in HIV care and increasing antiretroviral therapy coverage. As observed in high-income settings the benefits were seen not just in infants but also in older children and adults. Reassuringly, a reduced incidence of pneumococcal disease was found in individuals living with HIV and in people who did not have the disease. While there was some indication that serotype replacement may become a future problem (small increase in invasive diseases caused by non-vaccine serotypes in HIV negative infants) longer follow-up data is required to fully explore this issue.

Avoid TB deaths
Africa
South Africa
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What happens to people living with HIV who inject drugs in prison?

Within-prison drug injection among HIV-infected Ukrainian prisoners: prevalence and correlates of an extremely high-risk behaviour.

Izenberg JM, Bachireddy C, Wickersham JA, Soule M, Kiriazova T, Dvoriak S, Altice FL. Int J Drug Policy. 2014 Sep;25(5):845-52. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2014.02.010. Epub 2014 Feb 28.

Background: In Ukraine, HIV-infection, injection drug use, and incarceration are syndemic; however, few services are available to incarcerated people who inject drugs (PWIDs). While data are limited internationally, within-prison drug injection (WP-DI) appears widespread and may pose significant challenges in countries like Ukraine, where PWIDs contribute heavily to HIV incidence. To date, WP-DI has not been specifically examined among HIV-infected prisoners, the only persons that can transmit HIV.

Methods: A convenience sample of 97 HIV-infected adults recently released from prison within 1-12 months was recruited in two major Ukrainian cities. Post-release surveys inquired about WP-DI and injection equipment sharing, as well as current and prior drug use and injection, mental health, and access to within-prison treatment for HIV and other comorbidities. Logistic regression identified independent correlates of WP-DI.

Results: Complete data for WP-DI were available for 95 (97.9%) respondents. Overall, 54 (56.8%) reported WP-DI, among whom 40 (74.1%) shared injecting equipment with a mean of 4.4 (range 0-30) other injectors per needle/syringe. Independent correlates of WP-DI were recruitment in Kyiv (AOR 7.46, p=0.003), male gender (AOR 22.07, p=0.006), and active pre-incarceration opioid use (AOR 8.66, p=0.005).

Conclusions: Among these recently released HIV-infected prisoners, WP-DI and injection equipment sharing were frequent and involved many injecting partners per needle/syringe. The overwhelming majority of respondents reporting WP-DI used opioids both before and after incarceration, suggesting that implementation of evidence-based harm reduction practices, such as opioid substitution therapy and/or needle/syringe exchange programmes within prison, is crucial to addressing continuing HIV transmission among PWIDs within prison settings. The positive correlation between Kyiv site and WP-DI suggests that additional structural interventions may be useful.

Abstract access 

Editor’s notes: This is a powerful article contributing to the evidence base on the vulnerability of the health of people living in prisons. It highlights a particularly vulnerable sub-population of people living in prisons who are HIV positive. The study uses an innovative approach in recruiting a sample of people living with HIV recently released from prison, reporting a history of injecting drug use (n=95) on the basis that outside of prison people will be able to talk more freely about their drug use. The rationale for this study is simple: to document the existence of HIV risk associated with injecting drug use among people living in prisons. It is important since Ukraine and other countries of the former Soviet Union, have underplayed the need for HIV programmes including needle syringe programmes by denying that injecting drug use takes place in prison. This provides empirical evidence that it does, and among HIV positive people living in prisons, so the risk of HIV transmission to people who inject is high. It provides further evidence for the urgent need for HIV programmes among people who inject drugs  in prison. This is of particular relevance in the context of Ukraine, which has one of the fastest growing HIV epidemics globally, with infection driven by injecting drug use. The punitive approach to drug use in Ukraine is well highlighted through the study, by the fact that 76% of the sample were in prison on a drug-related charge. This paper confirms that injecting or other injecting risk behaviours occurred in prison, as has been evidenced elsewhere, and the majority of the sample injected prior to incarceration. It also shows that there is a lack of HIV programmes in place, particularly considering half the sample was aware of their diagnosis prior to imprisonment and the remainder found out while in prison. The study also shows a high prevalence of TB or history of TB (69%) but low levels of treatment while in prison. These illustrate a clear disregard for the health of people living in prisons, which is a breach of human rights, as well as being a poor public health strategy. Unlike other countries in the region, Ukraine does provide opiate substitution therapy to people who inject drugs, as part of an HIV prevention and treatment strategy. This paper provides further evidence for the need to extend this package of programmes to prison populations

Europe
Ukraine
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HIV education programme replicates success in national Kenyan roll-out

Replicating impact of a primary school HIV prevention programme: primary school action for better health, Kenya.

Maticka-Tyndale E, Mungwete R, Jayeoba O. Health Educ Res. 2014 Aug;29(4):611-23. doi: 10.1093/her/cyt088. Epub 2013 Aug 20.

School-based programmes to combat the spread of HIV have been demonstrated to be effective over the short-term when delivered on a small scale. The question addressed here is whether results obtained with small-scale delivery are replicable in large-scale roll-out. Primary School Action for Better Health (PSABH), a programme to train teachers to deliver HIV-prevention education in upper primary-school grades in Kenya demonstrated positive impact when tested in Nyanza Province. This article reports pre-, 10-month post- and 22-month post-training results as PSABH was delivered in five additional regions of the country. A total of 26 461 students from 110 primary schools in urban and rural, middle- and low-income settings participated in this repeated cross-sectional study. Students ranged in age from 11 to 16 years, were predominantly Christian (10% Muslim), and the majority were from five different ethnic groups. Results demonstrated positive gains in knowledge, self-efficacy related to changes in sexual behaviours and condom use, acceptance of HIV+ students, endorsement of HIV-testing and behaviours to postpone sexual debut or decrease sexual activity. These results are as strong as or stronger than those demonstrated in the original impact evaluation conducted in Nyanza Province. They support the roll-out of the programme across Kenyan primary schools.

Abstract access 

Editor’s notes: There are school-based HIV education programmes, demonstrated to be effective in improving knowledge and reported behaviours in trials. But few have been implemented and evaluated across an entire school system. After a successful trial in Nyanza Province, the Kenyan Ministry of Education, Science and Technology implemented the Primary School Action for Better Health (PSABH) nationwide. The national implementation is notable for its commitment to quality control. Quality Assurance Officers conducted teacher trainings and monitored the strength of programme implementation at each school. At scale, the national PSABH programme replicated and sustained the successes of the Nyanza trial. These included increased HIV-related knowledge and communications, condom and sexual self-efficacy but not reported condom use at last intercourse.  This raises the larger question of whether these improvements in knowledge and reported behaviours translate into actual behaviour change, and reduced HIV transmission. And there is little evidence for successful programmes on this.

Africa
Kenya
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How can we improve the UNAIDS modes of transmission model?

The HIV modes of transmission model: a systematic review of its findings and adherence to guidelines.

Shubber Z, Mishra S, Vesga JF, Boily MC. J Int AIDS Soc. 2014 Jun 23;17:18928. doi: 10.7448/IAS.17.1.18928. eCollection 2014.

Introduction: The HIV Modes of Transmission (MOT) model estimates the annual fraction of new HIV infections (FNI) acquired by different risk groups. It was designed to guide country-specific HIV prevention policies. To determine if the MOT produced context-specific recommendations, we analyzed MOT Results by region and epidemic type, and explored the factors (e.g. data used to estimate parameter inputs, adherence to guidelines) influencing the differences.

Methods: We systematically searched MEDLINE, EMBASE and UNAIDS reports, and contacted UNAIDS country directors for published MOT Results from MOT inception (2003) to 25 September 2012.

Results: We retrieved four journal articles and 20 UNAIDS reports covering 29 countries. In 13 countries, the largest FNI (range 26 to 63%) was acquired by the low-risk group and increased with low-risk population size. The FNI among female sex workers (FSWs) remained low (median 1.3%, range 0.04 to 14.4%), with little variability by region and epidemic type despite variability in sexual behaviour. In India and Thailand, where FSWs play an important role in transmission, the FNI among FSWs was 2 and 4%, respectively. In contrast, the FNI among men who have sex with men (MSM) varied across regions (range 0.1 to 89%) and increased with MSM population size. The FNI among people who inject drugs (PWID, range 0 to 82%) was largest in early-phase epidemics with low overall HIV prevalence. Most MOT studies were conducted and reported as per guidelines but data quality remains an issue.

Conclusions: Although countries are generally performing the MOT as per guidelines, there is little variation in the FNI (except among MSM and PWID) by region and epidemic type. Homogeneity in MOT FNI for FSWs, clients and low-risk groups may limit the utility of MOT for guiding country-specific interventions in heterosexual HIV epidemics.

 Abstract  Full-text [free] access

Editor’s notes: In 2002, the HIV Modes of Transmission model (MoT) was developed by UNAIDS to inform and focus, country-specific HIV prevention policies. The idea behind the model was to use simple mathematical modelling approaches, in combination with country specific data, to predict what the distribution of new HIV infection may look like. In this way, countries would be able to better focus their HIV response. Since its development and through 2012, the MoT has been applied in 29 countries, with the findings being used in many settings to shape priorities. In this study, the authors assess the degree to which the MoT produces different outputs in different epidemic contexts. They explore whether there are key parameters in the model that seem to drive similarities and/or differences in projections between countries. Surprisingly, across a broad range of epidemic settings, they found limited variability in the predicted annual fraction of new HIV infections (FNI) acquired by female sex workers (FSW) (0.04-14.4%). There were higher levels of variability between countries in the projected fraction of new HIV infections among men who have sex with men (0.01-89%) and people who inject drugs (0-82%).

The differences in the MoT projections were largely dependent on whether the country in question was categorised as having a concentrated / low-level epidemic, versus generalised epidemic, as defined by UNAIDS. Differences also arose depending upon whether ‘low risk groups’ were also included in the model. Indeed, for 22 of the 25 studies that included a low-risk group, this group was predicted to have a large annual fraction of new HIV infections (11.8-62.9%). This phenomenon arose, not because of high transmission rates in this group (in comparison to others such as MSM or PWIDs) but because these ‘low risk groups’ are large. They are one third of the total population. These findings may be misleading, as the projected high fraction of transmission is dependent on the assumption that everyone in this ‘low risk group’ does have some risk.

It appears that although the MoT was designed to address an important need, it is likely to have limited utility to guide programming in heterosexually driven epidemics.  To address this limitation, UNAIDS is supporting the HIV Modelling Consortium in their development of a revised MoT model that takes into better consideration risk categorization, data constraints and programmatic needs. The revised model is currently undergoing field testing and will be available for country use in 2015.

Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America
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The do’s and don’ts for human resource strategies as external financing makes its exit: lessons from Namibia

Confronting 'scale-down': Assessing Namibia's human resource strategies in the context of decreased HIV/AIDS funding.

Cairney LI, Kapilashrami A. Glob Public Health. 2014 Jan-Feb;9(1-2):198-209. doi: 10.1080/17441692.2014.881525. Epub 2014 Feb 6.

In Namibia, support through the Global Fund and President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief has facilitated an increase in access to HIV and AIDS services over the past 10 years. In collaboration with the Namibian government, these institutions have enabled the rapid scale-up of prevention, treatment and care services. Inadequate human resources capacity in the public sector was cited as a key challenge to initial scale-up; and a substantial portion of donor funding has gone towards the recruitment of new health workers. However, a recent scale-down of donor funding to the Namibian health sector has taken place, despite the country’s high HIV and AIDS burden. With a specific focus on human resources, this paper examines the extent to which management processes that were adopted at scale-up have proven sustainable in the context of scale-down. Drawing on data from 43 semi-structured interviews, we argue that human resources planning and management decisions made at the onset of the country’s relationship with the two institutions appear to be primarily driven by the demands of rapid scale-up and counter-productive to the sustainability of interventions.

Abstract access 

Editor’s notes: Some countries graduate to higher income categories and become ineligible for funding from major donors, such as the Global Fund and PEPFAR. As this happens, it is increasingly important to draw lessons on how to manage this transition from international to domestic financing and ownership. Using the case of human resource management, this study underscores the need to establish exit strategies early on. It also emphasises the need to ensure the integration of management processes within government systems. These are deemed necessary if high service coverage rates are to be maintained. The case study documents how additional health professionals were recruited at higher salaries than government salaries through a parallel recruitment system.  This was done in order to meet the needs of service scale-up. However, that approach led to an unsustainable situation. Sudden salary cuts jeopardised service continuity and the expectation that these staff would be absorbed on to the government payroll. There appears to be a trade-off between certain structures to enable rapid scale-up and programme sustainability. These ought to be planned for at an early stage of funding partnerships.   

Africa
Namibia
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Sustaining HIV responses in a post-Global Fund era: lessons from Peru

After the Global Fund: Who can sustain the HIV/AIDS response in Peru and how?

Amaya AB, Caceres CF, Spicer N, Balabanova D. Glob Public Health. 2014 Jan-Feb;9(1-2):176-97. doi: 10.1080/17441692.2013.878957. Epub 2014 Feb 5.

Peru has received around $70 million from the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund). Recent economic growth resulted in grant ineligibility, enabling greater government funding, yet doubts remain concerning programme continuity. This study examines the transition from Global Fund support to increasing national HIV/AIDS funding in Peru (2004–2012) by analysing actor roles, motivations and effects on policies, identifying recommendations to inform decision-makers on priority areas. A conceptual framework, which informed data collection, was developed. Thirty-five in-depth interviews were conducted from October to December 2011 in Lima, Peru, among key stakeholders involved in HIV/AIDS work. Findings show that Global Fund involvement led to important breakthroughs in the HIV/AIDS response, primarily concerning treatment access, focus on vulnerable populations and development of a coordination body. Nevertheless, reliance on Global Fund financing for prevention activities via non-governmental organisations, compounded by lack of government direction and weak regional governance, diluted power and caused role uncertainty. Strengthening government and regional capacity and fostering accountability mechanisms will facilitate an effective transition to government-led financing. Only then can achievements gained from the Global Fund presence be maintained, providing lessons for countries seeking to sustain programmes following donor exit.

Abstract access 

Editor’s notes: Some countries graduate to higher income categories and become ineligible for funding from major donors, such as the Global Fund and PEPFAR. As this happens,it is important to learn how the transition from international to domestic financing and ownership is managed. This study complements the previous paper, and documents the case of Peru and the impending exit of Global Fund support. The national and regional coordination bodies initially created for inter-sectoral dialogue and planning around Global Fund grant applications appear to be enabling factors for programme sustainability. As Peru started aligning Global Fund HIV activities with local priorities early on, this has helped set the stage for a smoother integration of such efforts in the national response. The authors highlight, however, that the predominant role of NGOs as implementers of prevention activities could become a limiting factor for sustainability.  This is so, given that they will become dependent on government funding, and may have a weakened ability to be able to hold the government to account. 

Latin America
Peru
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CD4 counts at antiretroviral therapy start rising globally, but could do better!

Immunodeficiency at the start of combination antiretroviral therapy in low-,  middle-, and high-income countries.

The IeDEA and ART Cohort Collaborations. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2014 Jan 1;65(1):e8-e16. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0b013e3182a39979.

Objective: To describe the CD4 cell count at the start of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) in low-income (LIC), lower middle-income (LMIC), upper middle-income (UMIC), and high-income (HIC) countries.

Methods: Patients aged 16 years or older starting cART in a clinic participating in a multicohort collaboration spanning 6 continents (International epidemiological Databases to Evaluate AIDS and ART Cohort Collaboration) were eligible. Multilevel linear regression models were adjusted for age, gender, and calendar year; missing CD4 counts were imputed.

Results: In total, 379 865 patients from 9 LIC, 4 LMIC, 4 UMIC, and 6 HIC were included. In LIC, the median CD4 cell count at cART initiation increased by 83% from 80 to 145 cells/µL between 2002 and 2009. Corresponding increases in LMIC, UMIC, and HIC were from 87 to 155 cells/µL (76% increase), 88 to 135 cells/µL (53%), and 209 to 274 cells/µL (31%). In 2009, compared with LIC, median counts were 13 cells/µL [95% confidence interval (CI): -56 to +30] lower in LMIC, 22 cells/µL (-62 to +18) lower in UMIC, and 112 cells/µL (+75 to +149) higher in HIC. They were 23 cells/µL (95% CI: +18 to +28 cells/µL) higher in women than men. Median counts were 88 cells/µL (95% CI: +35 to +141 cells/µL) higher in countries with an estimated national cART coverage >80%, compared with countries with <40% coverage.

Conclusions: Median CD4 cell counts at the start of cART increased 2000-2009 but remained below 200 cells/µL in LIC and MIC and below 300 cells/µL in HIC. Earlier start of cART will require substantial efforts and resources globally.

Abstract access 

Editor’s notes: In this multi-cohort analysis spanning six continents, median CD4 counts at initiation of combination antiretroviral therapy were substantially higher in high-income compared to low- or middle-income countries. Median CD4 counts at initiation increased between 2002 and 2009 in most countries studied, but these increases were greater in low- and middle-income than high-income countries and were greater among men than women. Baseline CD4 counts in low- and middle-income countries were higher among countries with national antiretroviral therapy coverage of 80% or above. Nevertheless, despite the massive scale-up of antiretroviral therapy in low-income countries since 2002, the increases in median CD4 count at the start of antiretroviral therapy have been modest. Substantial efforts and resources are needed to achieve earlier implementation of antiretroviral therapy globally.

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Earlier antiretroviral therapy initiation halves early mortality in South Africa

Reduction in early mortality on antiretroviral therapy for adults in rural South Africa since change in CD4+ cell count eligibility criteria.

Lessells RJ, Mutevedzi PC, Iwuji CC, Newell ML. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2014 Jan 1;65(1):e17-24. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0b013e31829ceb14.65(1).

Objective: To explore the impact of expanded eligibility criteria for antiretroviral therapy (ART) on median CD4 cell count at ART initiation and early mortality on ART.

Methods: Analyses included all adults (≥16 years) initiated on first-line ART between August 2004 and July 2012. CD4 cell count threshold 350 cells per microliter for all adults was implemented in August 2011. Early mortality was defined as any death within 91 days of ART initiation. Trends in baseline CD4 cell count and early mortality were examined by year (August to July) of ART initiation. Competing risks analysis was used to examine early mortality.

Results: A total of 19 080 adults (67.6% female) initiated ART. Median CD4 cell count at ART initiation was 110-120 cells per microliter over the first 6 years, increasing marginally to 145 cells per microliter in 2010-2011 and more significantly to 199 cells per microliter in 2011-2012. Overall, there were 875 deaths within 91 days of ART initiation; early mortality rate was 19.4 per 100 person-years [95% confidence interval (CI) 18.2 to 20.7]. After adjustment for sex, age, baseline CD4 cell count, and concurrent tuberculosis (TB), there was a 46% decrease in early mortality for those who initiated ART in 2011-2012 compared with the reference period 2008-2009 (subhazard ratio, 0.54; 95% CI: 0.41 to 0.71).

Conclusions: Since the expansion of eligibility criteria, there is evidence of earlier access to ART and a significant reduction in early mortality rate in this primary health care programme. These findings provide strong support for national ART policies and highlight the importance of earlier ART initiation for achieving reductions in HIV-related mortality.

Abstract   Full-text [free] access

Editor’s notes: In a rural area of KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa, the national policy shifted to recommend antiretroviral therapy (ART) for all adults with CD4+ cell count below 350 cells/μL from August 2011 onwards.  This shift has been associated with a significant increase in the median baseline CD4+ cell count among patients initiating ART and a significant reduction in mortality within the first three months of treatment. These findings suggest that linkage to care and treatment leading to earlier antiretroviral therapy initiation is key to achieving further reductions in HIV-related mortality.

Africa
South Africa
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Gender, structural determinants and vulnerability

A critical analysis of Peru's HIV grant proposals to the Global Fund. 

Cáceres CF, Amaya AB, Sandoval C, Valverde R. Glob Public Health. 2013 Dec;8(10):1123-37. doi: 10.1080/17441692.2013.861859

Peru has applied to six of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (the Global Fund) rounds for funding, achieving success on four occasions. The process of proposal development has, however, been criticised, especially concerning the use of evidence, relevance/consistency and performance indicators. We aimed to analyse the Peruvian Global Fund proposals according to those dimensions, providing feedback to improve future local efforts and inform global discussions around Global Fund procedures. We analysed the content of four HIV-focused proposals (rounds 2, 5, 6 and 8) regarding epidemic context, needs identification and prioritisation and monitoring and evaluation systems. Peruvian proposals submitted after round 1 were described as resulting from collaborative inputs involving formerly unrepresented sectors, principally 'vulnerable populations'. However, difficulties arose regarding the amount and quality of evidence about the epidemiological context; limited consideration of social determinants of the epidemic; lack of theory-driven interventions, and little synergy across projects and the inclusion of weak monitoring and evaluation systems, with poor indicators and measurement procedures. Prioritising the development of analytical and technical skills to generate Global Fund proposals would enhance the country's capacity to produce and utilise evidence, improve the technical-political interface, strengthen information systems and lead to more informed decision making and accountability.

Abstract access 

Editor’s notes: This is a useful paper that dissects one country’s Global Fund proposals over 10 years (2002-2012) to assess the use of evidence, the consistency and appropriateness of proposed activities and the adequacy of its monitoring and evaluation framework. Although only one country, Peru, is scrutinised in this paper, many of the findings will be relevant to the development and implementation of Global Fund proposals in other countries.

It was encouraging to learn that the use of evidence improved over time. However the lack of appropriate surveillance data meant that proposals were not always found to be evidence-based. The paper highlights in particular the need to use epidemiological evidence that is related to specific population sub-categories to address “vulnerability” and ensure that interventions are effectively targeted.

Consistency and continuity across proposals was sometimes lacking, possibly reflecting the Global Fund’s mechanistic funding process via “rounds”. The paper notes that at times, programmes could appear to be a juxtaposition of activities rather than a well thought out comprehensive strategy. It would be interesting to see whether the Global Fund's new funding model based on the national HIV/AIDS strategy in the future leads to a more continuous and consistent flow of activities.

Another key point in the paper is the inadequacy of the proposals’ monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework to monitor grants and evaluate results. As the paper notes, the information system will need to be strengthened for the M&E to deliver a more evidence based strategy.

Latin America
Peru
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An integrated investment approach for women’s and children’s health

Advancing social and economic development by investing in women's and children's health: a new Global Investment Framework.

Stenberg K, Axelson H, Sheehan P, Anderson I, Gülmezoglu AM, Temmerman M, Mason E, Friedman HS, Bhutta ZA, Lawn JE, Sweeny K, Tulloch J, Hansen P, Chopra M, Gupta A, Vogel JP, Ostergren M, Rasmussen B, Levin C, Boyle C, Kuruvilla S, Koblinsky M, Walker N, de Francisco A, Novcic N, Presern C, Jamison D, Bustreo F; on behalf of the Study Group for the Global Investment Framework for Women's Children's Health. Lancet. 2013 Nov 18. doi: S0140-6736(13)62231-X. pii: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)62231-X. [Epub ahead of print]

A new Global Investment Framework for Women's and Children's Health demonstrates how investment in women's and children's health will secure high health, social, and economic returns. We costed health systems strengthening and six investment packages for: maternal and newborn health, child health, immunisation, family planning, HIV/AIDS, and malaria. Nutrition is a cross-cutting theme. We then used simulation modelling to estimate the health and socioeconomic returns of these investments. Increasing health expenditure by just $5 per person per year up to 2035 in 74 high-burden countries could yield up to nine times that value in economic and social benefits. These returns include greater gross domestic product (GDP) growth through improved productivity, and prevention of the needless deaths of 147 million children, 32 million stillbirths, and 5 million women by 2035. These gains could be achieved by an additional investment of $30 billion per year, equivalent to a 2% increase above current spending.

Abstract access 

Editor’s notes: Over the past 20 years there have been substantial gains in maternal and child health (MCH). However, much still needs to be done – assuming a continuation of current rates of progress, there would nevertheless be shortfalls in the achievement of MDG 4 and 5 targets. Especially in sub-Saharan Africa, HIV is an important underlying cause of maternal and child ill health. This paper models the costs and benefits of an accelerated action on MCH, including for HIV, the prevention of mother to child HIV transmission; first line treatment for pregnant women; cotrimoxazole for children, and the provision of paediatric antiretroviral therapy (ART). These HIV services are complemented by health systems strengthening; increased family planning provision; and packages for malaria, immunisation, and child health. The paper is interesting for many reasons, including both the breadth of its intervention focus, and the detailed modelling of the likely health, social and economic benefits of such investments.

Although the direct HIV related benefits are not described in detail in the main paper, it is likely that these result both from increased contraceptive use (prong 2 for preventing vertical HIV transmission), as well as ART and cotrimoxazole provision. It also illustrates the potential value of developing a cross-disease investment approach, as a means to ensure that services effectively respond to the breadth of women’s and children’s health needs. This more ‘joined up’, integrated perspective on strategies for health investment can support core investments in health systems strengthening. It can also potentially achieve important cross-disease synergies, e.g., ensuring that a child who has not acquired HIV at birth does not then die from malaria. 

Africa, Asia, Latin America, Oceania
Afghanistan, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Comoros, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Togo, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe
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