Global HIV/AIDS initiatives, recipient autonomy and country ownership: an analysis of the rise and decline of Global Fund and PEPFAR funding in Namibia
Cairney, Liita-Iyaloo Ndalinoshisho
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The Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Malaria and TB and U.S President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) are global health initiatives (GHIs) that were established in the early 2000s with the mandates to increase global capacity to address HIV and AIDS rapidly. When the two GHIs were created, Namibia was one of the highest recipients of funding from both GHIs. A significant portion of their support to the country went to the Ministry of Health, which was the principal provider of treatment services in the country. Critics have argued, however, that the rise of financial support from the Global Fund and PEPFAR was associated with the creation of new administrative structures and procedures at the country level. This approach raises important questions about the degree to which Namibian health policymakers were able to exercise autonomy in the presence of GHI support. The aim of this thesis is to analyse the implications for institutional capacity and autonomy at the rise and fall of funding from the Global Fund and PEPFAR to the Ministry of Health concerning financial flows; human resources recruitment; and civil society engagement. With a focus on the changing relationship between the Ministry of Health and the two initiatives, the thesis examines the implications for country ownership and health systems capacity in the context of decreasing financial support from the Global Fund and PEPFAR. The field studies for this research was undertaken in 2011- 2012, when the two GHIs had indicated their intentions to scale-down the financial support made available to Namibia. This thesis uses multiple sources of data to qualitatively analyse the influences of Global Fund and PEPFAR support to Namibia from when the two initiatives were first established in 2002 and 2004, respectively, to 2012. A principal source of data was 43 semi-structured interviews conducted in Namibia during a placement with the Directorate of Special Programs in the Ministry of Health in early 2012. For financial flows, both the Global Fund and PEPFAR channelled and managed their funding through funder-specific structures and procedures that were developed and operated in parallel to existing Ministry of Health operations. Both for financial flows and human resources, initial structures and processes created difficulties for the Ministry of Health’s long-term objectives for HIV and AIDS. For civil society engagement, the thesis examined the Ministry of Health’s relationship with the Global Fund. At the rise of funding, the Global Fund required the establishment of a new multi-sector coordination structure for HIV and AIDS. This new structure operated at the same time as the existing national coordination structure and was perceived as having undermined the Ministry of Health’s role as the primary steward of Namibia's response. The Global Fund was also criticised for initially funding civil society organisations without making provisions for sustaining their capacity in the event of funding decline. The findings presented in this thesis indicate that at the rise of financing, the Ministry of Health’s engagement with the two HIV and AIDS GHIs initiatives was governed by the objectives of the two initiatives, rather than the long-term health systems goals of the Namibian Government. Their relationships with Namibia had an adverse impact on the Ministry of Health’s autonomy in making decisions on the national response to HIV and AIDS. The initial operations of the GHIs also had negative implications for Namibia's ability to sustain the health systems capacity they had helped to increase.