What is Capacity Development?
Capacity Development is key to the long-term success and sustainability of HIV and Health programmes. Zimbabwe AIDS Network (ZAN) an umbrella network for HIV and health service civil society organizations (CSOs) in Zimbabwe; Capacity Development approach is to coordinate, support and enable CSOs in Zimbabwe to contribute to resilient and sustainable HIV programmes and services.
The 2030 Agenda provides an opportunity to take steps to build better systems for HIV and health – by strengthening programmes and services to contribute to universal health coverage (UHC). ZAN works to reduce the legal, policy, human rights and gender equality barriers to access essential HIV and health services, and to develop resilient and sustainable HIV and health responses through capacity development of CSOs.
Capacity development is broader than just training, it addresses the need for improvements in systems for HIV and health to improve performance in health service delivery and ensure sustainability. It should assess how the system is currently working, and what areas need support. This could include; legal and policy formulation and implementation; developing and implementing health information systems, including training staff in analysing data to inform decisions; strengthening programme management functions, together with financial management by improving and utilizing standard operating procedures (SOPs) that meet national and international requirements; or improving the supply and distribution of key health products.
CSOs and Capacity Development;
Civil Society groups in Zimbabwe and other countries have experienced a changing environment in HIV and health care over the recent years which has seen their role and contribution minimized. This is due to the shift to a more centralized implementation approach by national ministries of health, stronger and new treatment approaches to HIV, and subsequent changes in funding for civil society groups.
There is a need for civil society to review and redefine its role both in response to HIV and to other emerging health priorities—for example, as people living with HIV live longer on treatment, they are more likely to develop a non-communicable disease (NCD) such as cancer.
As government provides the majority of treatment civil society groups need to assess what is their role in supporting health programme implementation, such as adherence to treatment, supporting marginalized and key populations to enable access to both prevention and treatment, and advocating for policy change to reach universal health coverage (UHC).