XVIII International AIDS Conference


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Monitoring the monitoring: maximizing the value at national-level of international monitoring processes

S. Gruskin1, L. Ferguson1, G. Peersman2, V. Andreeva3, C. Fontaine4, A.R. Pascom5, E. Kiwango6, D. Rugg6

1Program on International Health and Human Rights, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, United States, 2Payson Center for International Development, Tulane University, New Orleans, United States, 3Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Hanoi, Viet Nam, 4Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 5Ministry of Health, Brasilia, Brazil, 6Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Geneva, Switzerland

Issues: Countries submit reports to UNAIDS every 2 years on their progress toward fulfilling the goals agreed upon at the 2001 UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS (UNGASS). This reporting constitutes a significant burden at country level, so maximizing its utility for national efforts is critical. Some of these benefits have, until now, remained unrecognized.
Description: We carried out case studies of the 2008 UNGASS reporting process in Brazil, Ethiopia and Vietnam, reporting countries chosen to reflect different epidemics and responses.
Lessons learned: Across diverse country contexts, a variety of benefits for work at the national level were discerned. Most importantly, the process of bringing together actors from government, NGOs, groups of PLHIV, other civil society groups, bilateral agencies etc. to contribute to reporting was found to lead not only to increased understanding of one another's work but to unprecedented collaboration. The UNGASS requirement to provide information on specified most-at-risk populations highlighted invisible groups such as prison populations, men who have sex with men etc. that the government was uncomfortable acknowledging and/or who may not have been receiving the services they need. The UNGASS process also has played an important role in the worldwide movement of civil society engagement with, and ownership over, HIV-related data.
Next steps: The UNGASS process provides an opportunity to galvanize attention to issues affecting vulnerable populations that might not otherwise be captured or addressed, using its indicators and collaborative processes as a basis for strengthening partnerships in identifying important data gaps and using data for HIV program improvement.

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