Resource allocation within the National AIDS Control Program of Pakistan: a qualitative assessment of decision maker's opinions

Sara Husain; Masood Kadir; Zafar Fatmi
January 2007
BMC Health Services Research;2007, Vol. 7, p11
Academic Journal
Background: Limited resources, whether public or private, demand prioritisation among competing needs to maximise productivity. With a substantial increase in the number of reported HIV cases, little work has been done to understand how resources have been distributed and what factors may have influenced allocation within the newly introduced Enhanced National AIDS Control Program of Pakistan. The objective of this study was to identify perceptions of decision makers about the process of resource allocation within Pakistan's Enhanced National AIDS Control Program. Methods: A qualitative study was undertaken and in-depth interviews of decision makers at provincial and federal levels responsible to allocate resources within the program were conducted. Results: HIV was not considered a priority issue by all study participants and external funding for the program was thought to have been accepted because of poor foreign currency reserves and donor agency influence rather than local need. Political influences from the federal government and donor agencies were thought to manipulate distribution of funds within the program. These influences were thought to occur despite the existence of a well-laid out procedure to determine allocation of public resources. Lack of collaboration among departments involved in decision making, a pervasive lack of technical expertise, paucity of information and an atmosphere of ad hoc decision making were thought to reduce resistance to external pressures. Conclusion: Development of a unified program vision through a consultative process and advocacy is necessary to understand goals to be achieved, to enhance program ownership and develop consensus about how money and effort should be directed. Enhancing public sector expertise in planning and budgeting is essential not just for the program, but also to reduce reliance on external agencies for technical support. Strengthening available databases for effective decision making is required to make financial allocations based on real, rather than perceived needs. With a large part of HIV program funding dedicated to public-private partnerships, it becomes imperative to develop public sector capacity to administer contracts, coordinate and monitor activities of the non-governmental sector.


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