HIV/AIDS Monitor: Q&A with Nandini Oomman

January 14, 2010

HIV AIDS Monitor

Q: What is the purpose of the HIV/AIDS Monitor?
A: The HIV/AIDS Monitor offers comparative analysis of the three largest HIV/AIDS funding initiatives: The Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria, The (U.S.) President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the World Bank’s Multi-country HIV/AIDS Program (MAP) for Africa. By studying the design, delivery and management of these programs, we hope to be able to offer insights into what combination of approaches work best in particular contexts and why. These are crucial questions for improving the global response to HIV/AIDS. For CGD, they are also an important means to understanding and helping to improve aid effectiveness more broadly.

Q: Why did you choose these three programs?
The Global Fund, MAP and PEPFAR are the biggest and most prominent initiatives responding to the epidemic. Taken together they provide roughly $5 billion a year to developing countries confronting HIV/AIDS; or about 10 percent of total development aid and increasing. By offering independent yet supportive comparative analysis, we hope to be able help these programs do an even better job of saving lives and preventing the spread of the disease.

Q: What will you be studying, and how?
At the global level, we will look at strategies and approaches in design, implementation and evaluation. For example, we will ask: who decides what to fund, and how? Or, how does each donor handle procurement and what works where? And how do the initiatives assess their effectiveness? We will also be looking at donor coordination. In answering all these questions, we will examine the initiatives’ own policies, procedures and guidelines; published budget data; existing research; and other relevant sources, including our own independent consultations with stakeholders.

At the country level, we are recruiting in-country research partners to examine how aid-funded programs are designed and implemented, to monitor how funds are delivered and managed, and to explore the impacts of these activities on systems and institutions on the ground. This will help us to understand the bureaucratic and management costs that donors impose on recipients, to learn how well donor policies are aligned with recipient country strategies, and other critical issues in aid effectiveness that are not easily detected at the global level. Data will include country and donor budgets, program documents, strategy reviews, provider surveys, population based surveys and external evaluations, stakeholder consultations, and roundtables discussions with civil society leaders.

Q: The HIV/AIDS Monitor homepage says that you hope to “facilitate a wider discussion about aid effectiveness.” Who are you hoping to engage?
Our primary audience is officials who have the authority to make decisions about the three programs we monitor. Others include policymakers, advocates, and journalists in donor and developing countries who seek comprehensive information about these three initiatives. Through CGD’s recently launched Global Health Policy blog we hope to bring these various audiences into a common conversation.

Q: What products will you provide, and how can I stay up to date?
A: We plan to release periodic analytic reports and papers from our global and country level analyses timed in conjunction with relevant events, such as the World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings, international AIDS conferences and world AIDS days. We will continue to host events on relevant topics, such as our recent discussion on the comparative advantages of the Global Fund and the World Bank (transcript available). Staying up to date is easy: major news will be featured in the weekly CGD Development Update. We also offer a more in-depth e-letter that will appear approximately once a month, the HIV / AIDS Monitor Update. You can sign up for both from the CGD homepage or go directly to the CGD sign up page. Perhaps the best way to stay-up-to-date is to sign up for the HIV/AIDS RSS feed from the Global Health Policy blog (right click on the orange icon and paste the shortcut into any news aggregator).