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Health News Wed, 31 Mar 2010

HIV programme is a double-edged sword to the health system - Study

Accra, March 31, GNA - HIV/AIDS programmes have been a double-edged sword to the country's health system, according to preliminary results from a study on practical strategies and solution on health. It said in some areas HIV/AIDS programmes strengthened the building of laboratories for health facilities, refurbished facilities, provided vehicles, trained counsellors, improved capacity of NGOs, provided care, support and community mobilisation.

On the other hand they were self-centred because logistics were restricted to only HIV/AIDS programmes, reduction of human resources due to lack of funding, conflicts between family, public health and disease control programmes.

In some cases HIV/AIDS programmes dealt directly with donors instead of appropriate bodies under the Ghana Health Service (GHS). The study was undertaken by the Centre for Health and Social Services (CHeSS) with technical support from the Netherlands Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) on the need for health system strengthening emerging from challenges in scaling up HIV/AIDS programmes in the health sector.

Ms. Lucie Blok, an official of KIT, said the project was undertaken in Ghana, Kenya, Swaziland, Madagascar, Malawi, DR Congo and Burkina Faso. She said the objective was to identify practical strategies and solutions to how HIV/AIDS programme could best contribute to the overall health development and vice versa.

Dr. Sam Adjei, Executive Director of CHeSS, said a multi country descriptive case study which followed a standardisation data collection framework across the seven participating countries allowed for the aggregation of data and meta-analysis at global level.

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Data collection methods used included a desk review with focus on understanding how HIV and health programmes operate in each country, a stakeholder analysis (Including mapping of actors), semi structures interview with key informants, secondary analysis of epidemiological data including trend analysis, timeline analysis of key event evolved in the past 25 years impacting on the way HIV and health programmes were functioning. Dr Adjei said analysis of data collected would be based on real evaluation framework which focuses on "what works for whom in what circumstances and in what respects, and how?"

After analysis in each country, they would be consolidated and subjected to further in-depth analysis providing comprehensive results of the interaction between health and HIV programmes across the different participating countries.

Based on the outcome concrete recommendation would be formulated for policy makers to leverage synergies between HIV programmes and health strengthening activities.

According to Dr Adjei, interviews had been completed at the national and district levels with high and low prevalence. The study would be completed by end of July after collation from the participating countries.

Source: GNA