Bathula Amith Nagaraj is Operations Officer with Health Nutrition and Population Global Practice of The World Bank. Amith has Post graduation degree in Social Work (with Management specialization) from India. He has over 12 years of experience working in the areas of research and consultancy, program planning and implementation in various sectors such as Corporate Social Responsibility, Public Health, Rural development, water Sanitation and livelihoods. Prior to joining the Bank, he spent eight years in the social development research and consultancy and have experience of working extensively in majority of the states in India, managed corporate social responsibility program with one of the leading software company in Andhra Pradesh and worked in the Technical Support Unit at state level. Presently he is looks after the operations of health projects (both state and central level) of the World Bank, he is also part of secretariat with in Bank that works on Private participation for Health in India.
How did the government of India tailor its HIV/AIDS program to the needs of one particularly high-risk group—female sex workers—and effectively deliver services? In two states hard hit by the epidemic, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, the government’s AIDS program included specific targeted interventions: outreach, condom promotion and distribution, clinical services, and community mobilization and social support.
Site load mapping is a participatory site assessment tool that is used by Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to estimate the daily, weekly and monthly load of key population at a site. Site load mapping helps determine the locations of soliciting points and arrive at the total number of key population a CSO could potentially contact in a month. By mapping the key population load at a site, the CSO is able to understand and reduce the gaps between the site load numbers, regular contacts (at least once every 15 days is considered effective under the national operational guidelines in India) and unique contacts (once a month).
Site load mapping assists CSOs in locating the entire key population operating in a given area, reaching all available contacts regularly, providing the required services (such as, condoms, behaviour change communication messages) and referring them to service providers. This map helps outreach teams identify locations (for example, street based) where the load is high and days (such as, pay day, weekly market and festival) when sexual encounters peak. Based on site load mapping, the project team formulates an effective outreach plan that maximizes coverage and improves service delivery.
National Distance Learning Seminar (NDLS)state-of-the-art virtual training to health care workers deployed to ART centres, link ART centres, and care and support centres on the latest and relevant HIV/AIDS related topics. On average, about 400 health care workers from over 100 ART, link ART and care and support centres across the country participate in bi-monthly webcasts. Sessions last about an hour and are facilitated by experts from 17 Centres of Excellence operating under the National AIDS Control Program (NACP). NDLS is also available as a regional version called Regional Distance Learning Seminar (RDLS), which offers training on locally relevant topics, unique case studies and treatment guidelines in local or regional languages. RDLS sessions are facilitated by regional medical officers and experts to specifically address local and regional issues.
National and regional distance learning seminars use Adobe Connect web conferencing software to create a real time classroom for training, providing current knowledge on HIV/AIDS and sharing research findings. Web based e-learning is an innovative, inexpensive and effective approach for advancing knowledge and upgrading skills of a geographically scattered work force, especially those serving in places where traditional classroom sessions may not be readily available or easily accessible. By offering frontline workers opportunities to learn without leaving their work stations, distance learning seminars play a crucial role in enhancing knowledge levels, improving the quality of service delivery and retaining essential staff.
An annual assessment of Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART) centres is carried out across India by the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) using a standardized tool. The objectives of this comprehensive national exercise are to assess the quality of ART services, review performance and identify systemic barriers. The assessment offers a deeper understanding and complete picture on the functioning and performance of ART centres in the country. Apart from interactions with ART centre staff and beneficiaries, the assessment process involves validating data recorded and reported by ART centres.
The annual assessment tool brings structure, uniformity and coherence to the elaborate process of data collection, grading, compilation, analysis and reporting. The tool helps accentuate core strengths of the program, ascertain quality and integrity of data, reveal gaps in ART service delivery and identify areas that need strengthening. Based on the results of the evaluation, concrete measures may be implemented to strengthen the capacity of low performing centres, improve performance and consistently provide high quality ART services. At the national level, assessment results form the basis for taking key policy decisions, initiating programmatic changes and enhancing quality of service delivery.