The Population Council and partners conducted research, evaluation, and technical assistance activities to build the capacity of USAID-funded HIV/AIDS programs in Uganda.
Uganda has been heralded as a success in the global response to HIV and AIDS for reducing its HIV prevalence by half in less than a decade. A number of factors have contributed to this success, including strong political commitment by the Government of Uganda; substantial financial investments by the US government and other donors; a coordinated effort between the Ugandan government and international and local nongovernmental organizations to deliver prevention, care, and support services; and programs for children affected by AIDS.
However, the sharp declines in HIV prevalence have leveled off, and numerous program implementation challenges remain.
From 2008 to 2010, the Population Council and its partners implemented the HIV/AIDS Evaluation, Assessment, and Formative Research project to take stock of key HIV prevention, care, and treatment programs at various stages of operation in order to extract lessons learned, best practices, and remaining challenges.
Within the project, studies focused on programs that sought to increase the role of families and communities in the national HIV response, identify the needs and risk factors of orphans and other vulnerable children, and improve the efficacy of programs for youth, people living with HIV, and hospice care.
For example, the Council and its partners conducted a formative assessment to identify the population size, distribution, characteristics, and needs of nearly 8,000 children at risk for HIV infection. It was the first analysis of its kind and, on the basis of the data, researchers recommended increased policy and funding support for vulnerable children, a review of the national education system, immediate action to curb misuse of funds, and the development of institutional or transitional homes.
Additional activities included:
- formative evaluation of the Ugandan Presidential Initiative on AIDS Strategy for Communication to Youth (PIASCY), an HIV education initiative implemented in public secondary schools;
- mid-term review of the program for Expanding the Role of Networks of People Living with HIV/AIDS;
- mid-term evaluation of the AFFORD Health Marketing Initiative;
- end-of-project evaluation of Hospice Africa Uganda;
- technical assistance to the Uganda AIDS Commission (UAC) for the implementation of the performance monitoring and management plan; and
- end-of-project evaluation of the Monitoring and Evaluation of Emergency Plan Progress (MEEPP) project.
Research and evaluation findings from each study were presented to the Government of Uganda to inform HIV programs and policies. For example, the Council developed guidelines for the introduction of the government’s national HIV response monitoring and evaluation plan, which the government used to guide its implementation.