By Michelle Bachelor, Senior Manager, NASTAD Global Program
Last fall, we rolled out a much anticipated public health management training curriculum for District AIDS Coordinators (DACs) in Botswana. The training was developed in collaboration with NASTAD and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Sustainable Management Development Program (CDC-SMDP). The Applied Public Health Program Management Training (APHPMT) provides a standardized process for assessing program manager roles and responsibilities, and tailoring public health management training to address identified gaps in public health management competencies.
In Botswana, DACs are critical to the management and coordination of the district-level response to HIV. As secretariats to the District Multi-Sectoral AIDS Committees (DMSACs), and similar to their U.S. counterparts, DACs facilitate a range of activities (e.g., development of an annual multi-sector HIV/AIDS Action Plan, support of local-level capacity building for implementation, mobilization of resources, coordination of strategic implementation partnerships across sectors, and monitoring and documenting district responses). Since 2000, as the national HIV/AIDS response evolved, the role of the DAC has changed significantly as the DAC’s Office adjusted to expectations on the part of different national and local stakeholders. So, the APHPMT framework was developed and initiated through the collaborative efforts of the U.S.-based Development Team and the Botswana-based Technical Team, led by NASTAD and Ministry of Local Government (MLG) staff.
Training of Trainers
Master trainers from Botswana—veteran DACs, Assistant District AIDS Coordinators (ADACs), MLG staff and NASTAD-Botswana staff—facilitated the one-week training. Session topics included:
- Public health overview
- HIV in Botswana
- Implementing national strategies
- Identifying implementing partners
- Collaborating with and mobilizing partners
- Prioritizing and reallocating resources
- Effective communication
- Meeting facilitation
To fully actualize the “applied” elements of the APHPMT framework additional training components included job aids to assist DACs in their job functions and field assignments. Each participant committed to conceptualize and complete a field assignment that combines the skills learned during the training and an understanding of the needs of the districts. To assist with the field assignment process each participant was paired with a mentor. Participants will present the field assignment outcomes during part two of the training, scheduled for spring 2013.
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In April 2013, we will host part two of the training for AIDS Coordinators. Like part one, the week long training will be interactive, and focus on developing core public health competencies as identified through assessment and the in-country technical working group.
The APHPMT framework is a model that is replicable for many countries that are looking to build the professional and leadership capacity of the public health administration. Additionally, the true strengths of the model include:
- Training curriculum development customized to the identified needs of a country based on assessments and the use of in-country technical working groups that participate in the development of the trainings
- Training capitalizes on the combined expertise and training resources of both NASTAD and SMDP for a more comprehensive and engaging training response, utilizing the most current and innovative adult-learning training theories
- Training curriculum developed in complete collaboration with the host country to ensure that the training is a true representation of the countries public health workforce; and that the training has the complete buy-in and support of the local government so that it is integrated into the public health system and sustainable
- Trainings incorporate opportunities for training participants to “apply” the skills discussed during the training
- Training curricula include follow-up on the part of NASTAD, SMDP and local government to ensure that skills are applied and provide additional training support as identified through assessment and on-going engagement