Advocating for the Integration of HIV and MH

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By: Mohammad Ahsan, CEDPA India

The following is part of a series of project updates from the Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA). MHTF is supporting their project, Working on Integration Issues of HIV/AIDS and Maternal Health. More information on MHTF supported projects can be found here.

CEDPA India with the support from MHTF has undertaken an initiative to advocate for integration of HIV and Maternal Health programs and policies at the state (Rajasthan) and national level. The effort is to build consensus on strategies which will be developed to address and advocate for the issues of integration on HIV and maternal health through consultations at state and national level.

So far, CEDPA India has conducted a desk review of information on integrated programs and policies highlighting replicable lessons related to services and convergence at national and global level. We are in the process of documenting best practices and case studies on the integration issues at national and global level. Queries have been posted in MHTF‘s forum under Archive for the GMHC 2010 and cross posted in HIV and MCH ( Maternal and Child Health) section of Solution exchange forum. While the response to the query at global level has not been very encouraging, but at national level we have been getting few responses. However, responses are more like comments and detailed information that we seek is missing. We are trying to contact the individuals who have responded and worked on this issue to get detailed information that will supplement in developing the compendia of best practices.

However, I think the reason for facing challenges in getting the best practices and successful cases on HIV and MH integration programs in India and specifically in Rajasthan and other states, is mainly because most of the organization have not worked on such programs on integration and neither tried to integrate their own despite of National AIDs Control Program (NACO) government order (GO) on convergence between the National AIDS Control Program (NACP) and the Department of Health and Family Welfare (DOHFW). From the desk review it is also noticeable that very few programs were piloted in different part of India but on a very limited scale.

To further aid this search, I attended a National Conference on ‘HIV/AIDS Research’ organized by the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) in collaboration with UNAIDS at India Habitat Centre in New Delhi from 19-21 January 2011. The theme of Conference was ‘Towards Evidence-Policy linkages in HIV/AIDS Research in India. Besides serving as a national platform for exchange of knowledge, views and ideas among the researchers, program managers and policy makers in India, this National Conference aimed at providing evidences for program planning and policy formulation.. The Conference also focused on integrating preventive and therapeutic research on HIV /AIDS with the national program. It was envisaged that this scientific gathering would lead to timely and appropriate National response to the HIV epidemic and planning for the next phase of National AIDS Control Program. Although many good practices were presented at this conference, there was not much on research and evidence on integration.