By Maybin Mumba, Monitoring and Evaluation Program Manager, NASTAD Zambia, and Anna Carroll, Associate, Global Program, NASTAD
Zambia has one of the most severe HIV epidemics in the world, with an estimated adult prevalence of 12.7%. Over one million people are living with HIV in Zambia today. Despite these stark figures, the country has made significant progress in combatting the disease. The national adult prevalence has decreased steadily since 2000, from 15.3% to the current 12.7%, and significant strides have been made in the prevention of new infections and the provision of anti-retroviral therapies.
The Zambian response to HIV has been so successful because it has been very dynamic. The National AIDS Council (NAC) coordinates the nation’s response to HIV, and The National HIV/AIDS Strategic Framework (NASF) guides this response. The framework provides strategic policy and technical direction for the implementation of the multi-sectoral and decentralized HIV/AIDS response. The NASF for 2011-2015 is the third in a series of such strategic frameworks. In order to ensure that the national response to HIV is as strong and as pertinent as possible, the NASF and all other policies impacting HIV are subjected to a mid-point review and revised accordingly. The current NASF underwent a Mid-Term Review in 2013, and NAC invited NASTAD Zambia staff to be a part of the core team involved in the review and revision processes, as NASTAD has supported NAC and other governmental and non-governmental partners in Zambia since 2005, and has contributed to the development of all three strategic frameworks.
In November of 2013, NASTAD attended a review meeting organized by NAC in Siavonga, Zambia, to plan for 2014 and to discuss the results of two recently completed assessments: the Joint Mid-Term Review (JMTR) Report and the National AIDS Spending Assessment (NASA). The results of these national assessments suggested a fast changing HIV/AIDS environment, in terms of available funding and resources and the organization of key governmental agencies, as well as key programmatic achievements: the 2013 JMTR Report noted a striking reduction in the rate of mother-to-child transmission from 24% in 2009 to 12% in 2013. The assessments also pointed to certain areas that could benefit from programmatic growth and expansion, particularly in the provision of prevention and treatment services and in the overall coordination of the HIV response at national, provincial, and district levels. In line with these findings, it was recommended that the current NASF undergo a thorough revision.
In the coming months, NASTAD staff will work with NAC and other partners to ensure that the NASF is updated to reflect this changing environment and epidemic. Maybin Mumba, the Monitoring and Evaluation Program Manager at NASTAD Zambia, will provide technical assistance in the revision of the Response Coordination and Management section, with a focus on monitoring and evaluation and research. Maybin explained that NASTAD, along with NAC and other partners, are “working to make sure that the document is developed correctly and that all the needed changes are incorporated…we will realign the current NASF to make sure that it fits the current situation.”
NASTAD will continue to support NAC and its partners in the overall revision of the NASF in the coming months, as well as the development and coordination of its dissemination, in order to support and strengthen the HIV response in Zambia.
If you are interested in learning more about what NASTAD is doing in Zambia to support the HIV/AIDS response, please contact Luisa Pessoa-Brandao.