The global fight against AIDS: how adequate are the National Commissions?

The global fight against AIDS: how adequate are the National Commissions?

How adequate are the National AIDS Commissions?

Since the late 1990s, the donor community has placed increasing emphasis on promoting a 'multisectoral' approach to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic in developing countries. This paper from the Journal of International Development assesses the contribution of stand-alone National AIDS Commissions - the essential pre-requisite to receiving HIV/AIDS funding as stipulated by the World Bank – to fighting HIV/AIDS. As the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa intensified, it became clear to the World Bank that the epidemic was not just a health crisis, but also a development crisis. A new strategy was devised to mobilise political support for engagement from sectoral ministries, religious and cultural leaders, civil society and other groups - thereby eradicating the former reliance on health professionals. Stand-alone National AIDS Commissions became the Bank's solution to encourage multisectoral participation.
The article concludes that multisectoral, stand-alone AIDS commissions lack the active state leadership and health-sector focus that underpinned the campaigns that the World Bank sought to emulate. Action to launch National Commissions caused disruption in states where existing campaigns were making progress. Their effects were devastating in countries where progress was considerably slower, for example Malawi. [Adapted from GSDRC]