ITPC Gears Up for Community Observatories in West Africa

ITPC prepares for Global Fund grant for Community Observatories in West Africa

The decision in May 2016, by the Global Fund to recommend a grant to support the implementation of 11 Community Treatment Observatories (CTOs) in West Africa was a significant achievement. Since the announcement, ITPC Global and ITPC West Africa have been intensively engaged in the Global Fund pre-grant processes to develop management documents to guide and frame the scope and implementation of the overall project. In this update, we share news of our progress towards meeting the rigorous Global Fund grant terms and conditions, and provide an update on the project management structure.

PLHIV Networks Demand Action to End Drug Stock-Outs

Networks of people living with HIV in West Africa made an urgent plea to receive financial and technical assistance to strengthen health systems to improve antiretroviral therapy (ART) service delivery. Advocates and community networks painfully narrated incidences of continuous drug stock-outs, which compromised their right to health. Both ITPC West Africa and ITPC Global spearheaded support for people living with HIV in the region and established Community Treatment Observatories (CTOs). These observatories supported communities to monitor ART service delivery and advocate for improved quality.

Expression of Interest to the Global Fund

Having monitored repeated stock-outs of HIV medicines in West Africa through the Community Treatment Observatories, and recognizing the growing need to expand this monitoring mechanism across other West African countries, ITPC submitted an Expression of Interest (EOI) to the Global Fund in April 2015.

Regional Consultations

Following the submission of the EOI, ITPC was invited to submit a full Concept Note in August 2015. To ensure community input into the project and that the proposal was informed by the regions’ priorities, extensive regional in-person and online consultations were organized, in both French and English. ITPC Global took the lead in developing the Concept Note (based on outcomes of the consultations) and submitted it in February 2016.

Global Fund Recommends ITPC Global and West Africa for Grant

In May 2016, the Global Fund recommended a grant to support Community Treatment Observatories (CTOs) in West Africa. The grant would enable ITPC (Global and West Africa) and networks of people living with HIV, to extend community-based monitoring of HIV treatment to 11 countries in the region from January 2017 to December 2019.

The Pre-Grant Process

Since May 2016, ITPC has been on a steep learning curve engaged in pre-grant processes and preparing grant management documents ahead of the final decision of the Global Fund Board, and the beginning of the program. Components of the grant making stage included:

  • Capacity assessment of ITPC Global and ITPC West Africa in the areas of financial management, monitoring and evaluation systems, and governance management;
    Preparation of key grant documents, such as overall project budget, implementation map, performance framework and workplan tracking measures, applicant response to Global Fund Technical Review Panel comments, banking and grant authority documents; and
    Grant scope and budget negotiations.
    All Global Fund grant documents will be submitted to the Global Fund Board this month, November 2016, for final approval. Once approved, ITPC (Global and West Africa) will enter a pre-grant implementation planning phase, intended to prepare sub-recipients so they can meet their obligations under the program.

Structure of the Project

Based on the outcomes of the stages described above, it was decided that both ITPC Global and West Africa will co-share the responsibilities and duties of the Principal Recipient over the grant-cycle. Networks of people living with HIV will lead implementation in each of the 11 countries. The regional network of people living with HIV will support regional efforts and activities as part of the program. Community Consultative Groups, comprised of Key Populations, women and adolescents living with HIV, will be established to complement the efforts of the networks in the implementation of CTOs at national and regional levels.

Global Fund Project Team

We are in the process of recruiting a dedicated Global Fund project team to manage the implementation of the program. This team will be based in Cote d’Ivoire and be led by a dedicated Global Fund Project Director. The Project Director will work closely with the ITPC WA Regional Director to build on existing relationships and structures, and ensure sustainability of the work beyond this Global Fund project.

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