The Africa Free of New HIV Infections (AfNHi) commissioned an assessment in order to map national level organisations undertaking biomedical HIV prevention research advocacy, or that have an interest therein. Opportunities and enablers for an expanded African led civil society network driving biomedical HIV prevention research advocacy were explored.
Organisations were identified through AfNHi member networks and desktop research. Desktop research was hampered by a lack of up to date verifiable information, outdated directories and poor coverage of NPTs in general.
Data was collected through an online survey and in-depth semi structured interviews. Information pertaining to existing knowledge, experiences and capacity building interests in NPTs were collected.
Findings Snapshot: Environmental enablers for research advocacy
Participants from Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, shared their insights and experiences in implementing advocacy in their respective country contexts. Three themes came out strongly:
Changes in research: Participants discussed the level of engagement with research scientists as varied and ad-hoc. Many of the participants who are active stakeholders in prevention research in particular, called for an expanded level of civil society engagement.
Engaging National and Regional Decision Makers: Government buy-in and participation in HIV prevention research to roll-out studies was framed as a major enabler for successful HIV prevention advocacy, in particular with regards to discussions for future access of tools that are proven to be effective. In discussing challenges experienced in implementing HIV prevention research to roll-out advocacy, many participants also had actions for how the gap with government could be bridged.
Resource Mobilisation and Investment: All respondents spoke of the difficulty in attracting and retaining funding for HIV prevention research advocacy. This was associated with the diminished reach, quality, scale-up and sustainability of HIV prevention research advocacy.
While standalone advocacy efforts have been somewhat documented, socio-environmental enablers from the perspective of local African implementers are not found prominently in the literature. Identifying common cross country characteristics can contribute to improved planning and targeted advocacy agendas at national level. Cross country example – similar findings https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26295159