Responding to the socio-economic impact of the HIV epidemic in Sub-Saharan Africa: why a systems approach is needed

Case Studies & Research
7 p.

In this UNDP issue paper, Cohen highlights a concern that despite recognizing that HIV is underlying development progress of the last decade, current policy and programmes are still created without factoring in the HIV epidemic. He believes that part of the problem is that development problem-solving is still inherently focused on prediction - documenting the fact that progress will be eroded with HIV. Cohen argues that while this has been valuable in creating awareness, the reality for many countries is that they are living through the prediction and need solutions for how to mitigate the epidemic's impact. Cohen suggests a greater focus should be on developing programmes that creatively address the current situation where the focus should be on "ameliorating the social and economic realities of the epidemic". Outlines seven administrative areas of focus in national policy that deserve specific attention. However he also argues that since much of the impact of the epidemic is regional, there should be a stronger emphasis on regional cooperation for obtaining solutions. He illustrates this by citing migratory labour and its role in spreading HIV infection, highlighting the benefits of a regional solution that looked at stemming the economic reasons for regional migration. Finally, Cohen stresses that the objective of all activities should be capacity development.

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