By Marcus Low
We recently sent the South African National AIDS Council some questions regarding the process for developing South Africa’s new National Strategic Plan on HIV, TB and STIs. Below we reproduce their responses exactly as they were sent to us.
Spotlight: We know some consultations on South Africa’s next NSP were held in Durban. What future plans are there for civil society engagement in the process? (If you have a schedule of consultations we will be happy to publish that.) Please also share all details you can share regarding timelines.
SANAC: SANAC has embarked on a process of deep involvement of civil society to emerge with a Plan civil society has been involved in developing (not simply consulted on) and, with other stakeholders feels ownership of.
The development of the National Strategic Plan will go through the following stages: The initial stage is getting input from a diverse group of stakeholders, including civil society, on key questions. This will be followed by a national stakeholder engagement meeting where key issues will be debated before the NSP document is developed and then passed through the SANAC structures, where civil society will again be able to input, before being presented to the national Cabinet in early November.
We are engaging with various stakeholders, including the civil society forum, on the details of how they wish to be engaged. This process will be supplemented by opportunities for people to give their opinion through various media platforms including twitter, Facebook and the SANAC website.
Spotlight: Who is in charge of the process for developing and writing the new NSP?
SANAC: A Multi-stakeholder NSP Steering Committee, with civil society representation, has been established to lead the process. The SANAC secretariat with the support of consultants will be responsible for the writing up of the NSP based on the input of stakeholders and the guidance of the NSP Steering Committee.
Spotlight: What is the cost of developing the next NSP and who is paying? Please share as much detail as you can.
SANAC: SANAC has budgeted R1m for the development of the NSP. In addition, WHO, Gates, GIZ, the Global Fund and UNAIDS are providing consultant experts to assist with preparing the NSP and facilitating the consultations. The Secretariat is still fund raising as the budgeted funds will not be adequate. Developing a NSP requires consultation (conference costs, travel) and technical support to ensure development of a Plan that reflects the input of stakeholders and is strategically sound and based on recent reviews, changes in the epidemic and new evidence.
Spotlight: Will changes to the structure of SANAC be considered at any point during the process of developing the next NSP?
SANAC: All inputs from stakeholders will be considered as part of the process of developing the NSP. The main questions being asked will include: what of the current NSP needs to be expanded and what needs to be strengthened (and how), what is new and needs to be included, what are the game changers to set the scene for the achievement of the NDP goals of 2030?