World Health Organization (WHO) "Preparing for Treatment Programme"

Fact sheet

About the "Preparing for Treatment Programme" - Background and aim

  • In the 20 years since the HIV/AIDS epidemic began, people living with HIV or AIDS (PLWHA) have been at the forefront of advocating for access to antiretroviral treatment (ART) and providing care for others living with the virus.
  • In light of the public health emergency HIV/AIDS represents, and to contribute to the realization of the "3 by 5" target, WHO has dedicated US$1 million to a new initiative to support community-based HIV/AIDS treatment preparedness activities at country level.
  • The programme's objective is to support and expand national and regional community-driven HIV/AIDS treatment preparedness efforts to support the scale-up of national ART programmes and the achievement of the "3 by 5" target.
  • The legacy of community response to the epidemic through the Greater Involvement of People living with AIDS (GIPA - an initiative established in 1994) resulted in the early days of the epidemic in effective homecare, prevention and treatment programmes.
  • Today, GIPA principles employed in developing countries are necessary to assist in the continued scale-up treatment and prevention.

What is "Treatment Preparedness"?

  • Treatment Preparedness is the term that refers to a person's readiness to begin antiretroviral treatment. It includes "treatment literacy" or having the appropriate knowledge about HIV and the medicines used to treat it, as well as "empowerment" or the meaningful involvement of PLWHA in decisions regarding their care, including the distribution of resources.
  • An example of treatment preparedness activities can be taken from South Africa-based organization, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) which developed an easy-to-use manual to help people living with HIV/AIDS to follow their treatment regimens effectively. This manual was widely distributed at the community level.
  • Treatment Preparedness is important for the following reasons:

- it allows the individual the possibility of making decisions regarding his / her own care and treatment;
- it ensures effective adherence through community and family support;
- it combats stigma and discrimination by dispelling myths about HIV/AIDS;
- it counters false claims by under-trained healthcare workers;
- it allows the individual to advocate for treatment locally for him/her self and others living with HIV;
- it ensures PLWHA presentation in all aspects of HIV programme and policy development at local, regional and country levels; and
- it secures adequate funding for HIV treatment programmes to ensure affordability of treatment.

WHO's Commitment to Treatment Preparedness

  • WHO will start an evaluation process parallel to the "Preparing for Treatment Programme" to collect data for the purpose of demonstrating the effectiveness of community-based treatment literacy programmes and to document best practices that can be replicated.
  • Because of the tendering process, WHO has become aware of other organizations - international non-governmental organizations, community and faith-based organizations - which share the WHO vision of treatment preparedness.
  • Many of these organizations are already starting treatment preparedness programmes in recognition of the need for increasing treatment literacy among PLWHA individuals and groups in order to run a successful HIV care and prevention programme.
  • WHO is currently seeking additional funding to support the good work of these other organizations so that their constituents can fully contribute to their own care and the care of others in their communities.

WHO's Partnership with the Tides Foundation

  • The Tides Foundation was selected as the intermediary for a community-based grants-making programme.
  • The review for selection was through a rigorous international tendering process, in which a number of highly competitive proposals were reviewed.
  • The Tides Foundation's proposal was chosen because of its excellence in the following areas:

- Community-driven process: through a mechanism of community-led review panels, small grants will be awarded to organizations based on community-based priorities and needs.

- Regional responsiveness: each region or sub-region nominates its own review panel, which sets the priority needs for the region and reviews grants to be awarded. This ensures that the money reaches those organizations that are focussing on the regions' most urgent needs.

- International coordination: through the Tides Foundation's international head office, reports regarding grant-making procedures and the outcomes achieved are funnelled to a centralized point where they will be analysed to ensure effective and efficient use of funds; transparency of procedures; and accountability to donors.

- Capacity for growth: the Tides Foundation manages the "Collaborative Fund", the community grants-making mechanism that, including WHO's US$ 1 million, oversees over US$ 3.5 million of small grants for PLWHA organization and this amount continues to grow.