The challenges of implementing a multi-sectoral approach through Aids Councils in the Eastern Cape Province
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The study analyses the difficulties facing the Aids Councils in the response to HIV and Aids employing a multi-sectoral approach. The multi-sectoral approach is recognized and implemented as a best practice model to ensure coordination and synergy in the response to HIV and Aids. The Aids Councils are structures set up by government based on a multi-sectoral approach, operating with limited strategic direction, support, leadership, governance and resources. The management, support and engagement of the Aids Councils are still barriers to an effective multi-sectoral response to HIV and Aids. The study was conducted in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Data was gathered from members of the District and Provincial Aids Councils through in-depth interviews and a focus group discussion. The study focused on 20 members actively participating in the Provincial and District Aids Council’s structures over the last two years. The data gathered includes the description of the coordination that exists, the roles of members, the impact of governance and leadership and the capacity challenges faced by the Aids Councils. The information was then compiled and analysed. The analysis of the data has shown that there is acknowledgment of the benefits of a multi-sectoral approach. Members of the Councils are engaged and committed, but require ongoing support, leadership and direction from the South African National Aids Council (SANAC). The areas where support is required include training, role clarification, strategic leadership, monitoring and evaluation and engaging the private sector at a local level. This study may assist in influencing the thinking around the National, Provincial and District Aids Councils in terms of their role and function in the implementation of a multi-sectoral approach in combating HIV and Aids.