Meeting with Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, Director General, Dept. of Disease Control in Thailand
EHG conducted an evaluation of the work of the UN Joint Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) with Key Populations (2018-2021), which was primarily conducted through six country case studies (Cameroon, Kenya, Peru, Thailand, Tunisia, and Ukraine), complemented with some global level analysis.
The Joint Programme in Thailand report focused on the key challenges that need to be addressed if Thailand is to reach the ambitious goal of ending AIDS by 2030.
In Thailand, the evaluation team briefed the Director General, Dept. of Disease Control on the results of the specific case study, as well as a brief overview of the key findings at the global level.
Global level key findings/messages:
1. The increase in infections among key populations presents a strong case for strengthening the focus and prioritization of key population programming. Recommendation: Urgently increase the prioritization and strategic focus of the Joint Programme’s work with key populations.
2. In most countries, with the exception of Thailand and Ukraine, there has been insufficient focus on developing and implementing sustainable financing and programming mechanisms for key populations. This represents a strategic gap.
3. Globally, the integration of HIV services into universal health coverage may lead to service integration, resulting in services not specifically focused on the HIV needs of key populations. In contrast, in Thailand, the consideration being given to social contracting of key population NGOs under universal health coverage is likely to result in retention of services focused on the needs of key populations. Recommendation: Strengthen guidance and support on incorporating community-led services in universal health coverage and social contracting.
4. There are concerns that the Joint Programme’s strategic pivot to addressing the dual pandemics of HIV and COVID-19and pandemic preparedness will reduce attention to HIV and specifically key population programming at a time when this needs to be scaled up.
Thailand country study - key findings and recommendations:
The three key challenges that have been prioritized in the Joint Programme’s work are:
- Scaling up HIV prevention and testing and treatment uptake rates among key populations, including taking innovations such as PrEP and HIVST to scale;
- Improving the enabling environment for key population programming;
- Development of sustainable financing mechanisms under UHC for social contracting of key population NGOs.
Key features of the Joint Programme’s approach are:
- Joint Programme plans are aligned with government and partner priorities;
- The Joint Programme works in close collaboration with government, key population NGOs, donors and research institutions
- The Joint Programme is seen as a neutral partner, promoting best practice.