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Guide to the Resource Pack on HIV/AIDS Strategic Planning,
Operational Planning, and Costing

Introduction and background
HIV/AIDS strategic plans are important to direct and monitor national responses to the epidemic, as a tool for resource mobilisation and as a guide to resource allocation. The processes involved in developing national strategies can also be very important, in terms of empowering and mobilising diverse stakeholders, as a means of forging a common national vision, and signifying a renewed effort to tackle the many complex challenges associated with HIV and AIDS.

However, national HIV/AIDS strategic plans have tended to be characterised by certain limitations:

  • Not results-focused
  • Strategic choices insufficiently justified by data and analysis
  • Priorities not clearly defined and explicit (i.e. strategies containing ‘wish lists’)
  • Plans not costed or budget allocations do not match strategic choices.

There are many efforts underway to improve the quality of national strategies, including the World Bank AIDS Strategy and Action Plan (ASAP) Programme. ASAP is being promoted to assist the standardisation of planning, the review of national plans, and the prioritisation and costing of plans.

Drawing heavily on ASAP materials, TSF Southern Africa has put together this resource pack on HIV/AIDS strategic and operational planning to orientate and assist consultants.

TSF resource pack
TSF Southern Africa is committed to developing the capacity of regional and national consultants. We have identified two areas where greater capacity is required to service regional needs, namely:

  • Evidence-based decision-making to formulate strategies and prioritise
  • Costing and budgeting of national plans.

The resource pack is part of the TSF Southern Africa professional development programme for consultants. It contains essential background documentation and useful tools for consultants contracted to work on national strategies in the Southern Africa region.

Using the resource pack
TSF consultants working on national strategies are expected to be familiar with the contents of this resource pack—the materials provide useful background information, examples, tools, and ideas that can be applied or adapted to meet the specific needs and circumstances of the assignment. The most important resources are highlighted by the symbol *

Please note that the pack is not always able to provide a full description of the social processes and arrangements required to use a particular tool effectively. Consultants should work in close collaboration with their clients and/or in-country counterparts to plan thoroughly the social arrangements associated with strategic and operational planning, i.e. critical questions such as who you could or should use the tool with, and how to proceed.

Please also note that the pack does not cover in detail decentralised planning—e.g. district level strategic planning or district level action planning.

Guide to the resource pack
This guide is written to provide consultants with an overview of the materials in the resource pack. The pack is organised into three folders as follows:

  • Folder 1 – Evidence-based planning covers best practice in strategic and operational planning with an emphasis on the use of evidence to assist in the identification of appropriate strategies for an HIV/AIDS response.
  • Folder 2 - Calculating resource needs includes background resources on costing and budgeting AIDS programmes and strategies as well as examples of software and models (including Goals, Resource Needs Model, AIDSTreatCost) that are used for national strategy costing exercises.
  • Folder 3 - National strategies and plans provides a reference collection of the current or most recent national AIDS strategies from each country in the region, plus samples of national action (or work) plans.

Websites containing valuable resources

  • www.abtassociates.com – Abt Associates is a for-profit research and consulting firm. Developers of the AIDSTreatCost Model
  • www.aidsalliance.org – The International HIV/AIDS Alliance supports community action on HIV and AIDS in developing countries. See especially the NGO support toolkit
  • www.civicus.org - CIVICUS is the World Alliance for Citizen Participation
  • www.constellafutures.com - Constella Futures specialises in the design and implementation of public health and social programs for developing countries. Developers of the Goals software
  • www.fhi.org - Family Health International is a non-profit public health organisation. See especially the toolkit of Strategies for an Expanded and Comprehensive Response (ECR) to a National HIV/AIDS Epidemic
  • www.phrplus.org - Partners for Health Reformplus was a USAID project to provide technical assistance on health care reform, health policy, management, health financing, and systems strengthening. The project ended in 2006 but the website is still operational
  • www.synergyaids.com – The Synergy Project was a USAID project to design, evaluate, and coordinate HIV/AIDS programs and identify and disseminate lessons learned from these programs. The Synergy Project ended in 2006 but the website is still operational. See especially the APDIME toolkit
  • www.unaids.org – UNAIDS main site
  • www.undp.org – UNDP main site
  • AIDS Strategy and Action Plan (ASAP) webpage - navigate to www.worldbank.org, search for‘ASAP’ and click on the relevant link.

Acknowledgements
TSF Southern Africa would like to acknowledge all originators and contributors of resources included in this pack.