How NAC by­passed CHE in re­sponse to HIV

Lesotho Times - - Opinion & Analysis -

I WRITE this let­ter in re­sponse to “LUCT, NAC ink deal to fight HIV/AIDS” ( Le­sotho Times, 3 Novem­ber 2016) on the newly re­launched Na­tional AIDS Com­mis­sion (NAC) fight­ing HIV/AIDS in in­sti­tu­tions of higher ed­u­ca­tion (IHES).

All is well that NAC, now led by Ker­atile Tha­bana (CEO) rec­og­nizes the role and ben­e­fits of en­gag­ing IHES such as LUCT in the na­tional re­sponse. The ra­tio­nale for the MOU was that IHES have sub­stan­tial num­bers of sex­u­ally-ac­tive young peo­ple who are be­lieved to be highly in­fected with HIV. The ar­ti­cle de­scribes the MOU ac­tions and ben­e­fits for NAC, LUCT and the na­tion at large.

Amid the good in­ten­tion and acronyms, one was no­tably miss­ing, and this was the Coun­cil on Higher Ed­u­ca­tion (CHE). De­spite its work in avail­ing the CHE Strate­gic Plan 2004/05-2014/15, with its 10 Fo­cal Ar­eas, of which Fo­cal Area 9 is “Man­ag­ing the spread of HIV/AIDS in In­sti­tu­tions of Higher Ed­u­ca­tion”, the trio in MOU ig­nored and de­lib­er­ately by-passed CHE in plan­ning and sign­ing the MOU. Such was the hurry for an ac­cord that not even the Min­istries of Ed­u­ca­tion (MOET) and of Health (MOH) were cited as part­ners.

In its man­date, CHE pro­vides reg­u­la­tory, co­or­di­na­tion and ac­cred­i­ta­tion frames for IHES. It should there­fore be manda­tory, even for NAC, to work in con­sul­ta­tion with and ap­proval of CHE, and that would be ev­i­dent in the ar­ti­cles.

The NAC-CHE re­la­tion­ship is a strongly fa­mil­iar ter­ri­tory for cur­rent CEO of NAC, some­what fa­mil­iar for LUCT, and I bet ACHAP would plead un­fa­mil­iar­ity, hence their own over­sight in thor­oughly map­ping its na- IN re­sponse to “Mo­sisili takes fight to Moleleki” ( Le­sotho Times, 10 Novem­ber 2016), we can sup­port our congress or na­tional move­ments but we refuse ha­tred and en­mity that you have ad­vo­cated for the last 20 years.

Chiefs Th­e­sele ‘Maserib­ane tional MOU part­ners.

One of CHES strate­gies is to achieve a “re­duc­tion in HIV in­fec­tions and AIDS re­lated ill­nesses among stu­dents and staff in all in­sti­tu­tions of higher learn­ing”, which the MOU trio has not heard of.

A strate­gic goal is “to fa­cil­i­tate the stan­dard­iza­tion of HIV and AIDS in­sti­tu­tional poli­cies and strate­gies” with the out­put to have “uni­form guide­lines for HIV and AIDS guide­lines for IHE poli­cies and strate­gies in place” with the out­come of “in­creased ef­fec­tive­ness of HIV/AIDS in­ter­ven­tions in the var­i­ous IHES”.

These or­derly com­po­nents should be the ba­sis of such MOU, but as NAC has pow­ers of by-pass and can re-in­vent the wheel, the ex­ist­ing CHE strat­egy and IHES net­works on AIDS were not help­ful.

I ar­gue that a bet­ter ac­tion would be if NAC con­vened an ind­aba of IHES: say LCE, LP, LUCT, NHTC, NUL, Nurs­ing col­leges, etc to jointly plan with ACHAP, sign an MOU for and de­sign in­di­vid­ual IHE in­ter­ven­tions based on ex­ist­ing on-cam­pus ca­pa­bil­i­ties, all mon­i­tored by CHE.

The cur­rent ac­tion by NAC un­der­mines years of CHES ef­forts to unite and sync IHES in fight­ing AIDS. Al­though the trio’s MOU rep­re­sents a good idea, its weak­ness is in fail­ing to ev­i­dence any in­volve­ment of prin­ci­pal en­ti­ties. This was de­spite, if not be­cause of the CEOS work­ing knowl­edge of MOET and CHE, hav­ing been PS at MOET not less than two years.

Even if I al­low due space to CEO as a po­lit­i­cal ap­pointee, her open­ing style in lead­ing the na­tional re­sponse is the same old mud­dle-through that char­ac­ter­ized NAC be­fore

and Joang Mo­lapo are cit­i­zens of this coun­try and it is within their rights to stand for po­lit­i­cal of­fice.

When other chiefs join the congress move­ments you never come up with all these di­vi­sive com­ments.

Chief Matle­jane Mo­lapo Qho­bela was a long-time Ba­sotho Congress Party representative in UK; and there are other count­less chiefs who are mem­bers of the congress move­ments.

We want to work to­gether as Ba­sotho in our vil­lages, towns and it fell.

The con­tra­dic­tions are that de­spite a new Board and CEO, NACS past fail­ures will re­peat. One rea­son, which saw NAC go broke and close shop five years ago, was that it veered off-course from its man­date to pro­vide lead­er­ship, pol­icy and M&E frames, and took up grants-mak­ing.

The shift needed close mon­i­tor­ing of im­ple­ment­ing part­ners (IPS), re­sult­ing in NAC mi­cro-man­ag­ing the IPS projects, only to end up rac­ing against time to ac­count to a clos­ing au­dit. A sec­ond was a halo ef­fect used in se­lect­ing some IPS (based on traits such as ‘um­brel­la­hood’ and history) as is now the case with LUCT, whose bias is cre­ativ­ity and mar­ket­ing flair, and ACHAP whose bias and uniquely jus­ti­fi­able role was not clear.

The third rea­son was lack of pro­gram clar­ity. Al­though LUCT ur­gently needs an AIDS pro­gram, NAC just im­posed one with no com­pet­i­tive se­lec­tion cri­te­ria ex­cept the CEOS vi­sion to use its cre­ative cur­ricu­lum for a dis­tant hope to influence young peo­ple to change be­hav­ior.

In the run up to the MOU, there was no ev­i­dence of any stu­dent/staff of LUCT tak­ing an HIV test, in con­tra­dic­tion to the con­cur­rently launched “test and treat” strat­egy ( The Post, Nov 3, 2016 ‘Le­sotho hailed in HIV fight’) in which test­ing is still key.

By cherry-pick­ing LUCT among IHES, and with­out CHES fully-en­dorsed go-ahead, NAC’S ac­tion run counter to UNAIDS (2003) Three Ones prin­ci­ples: ‘ one na­tional frame­work, one co­or­di­nat­ing au­thor­ity, one M&E frame­work’, by fail­ing trans­parency and sense of one­ness among IHES.

I con­clude that, LUCT can po­ten­tially raise

cities to im­prove our lives and you come up with all these state­ments about na­tion­al­ists and congress peo­ple be­ing oil and wa­ter.

Don­ald Trump has al­ready held meet­ings with Barack Obama for a smooth tran­si­tion from Democrats rule to Repub­li­can rule.

Ernest Ra­makhethu Khu­malo.

WE need much stronger gun con­trol laws and a po­lice ser­vice that will en­force them, and a court sys­tem that will pun­ish con­victed of­fend­ers ap­pro­pri­ately “Leribe HIV pre­ven­tion through its cur­ricu­lum, but it is rel­a­tively new to the fight against AIDS and has nei­ther the ap­pro­pri­ately qual­i­fied staff nor an on-cam­pus health unit to sup­port pi­lot­ing a ser­vice ini­tia­tive.

The ar­ti­cles did not re­veal what tan­gi­ble ar­ti­facts will be availed by the MOU, but cur­rent prac­tice re­quires that for ‘test and treat’ to work, IPS must act in the con­text of 3x90’s to have: 90 per­cent take HIV test, 90 per­cent on ARVS and 90 per­cent have HIV sup­pres­sion.

With­out a plan to first achieve (not re­ally 90 per­cent) but an ac­cept­able sam­ple of HIV test­ing at LUCT — which is not ev­i­dent in the trio’s im­me­di­ate plans - the un­proven hy­poth­e­sis that HIV is highly preva­lent in IHES will per­sist. As most IHES lack HTC ca­pac­ity, they out­source test­ing with MOHap­proved part­ners but are of­ten not copied re­ports show­ing num­bers, sexes, ages, first/ re­peat clients, aca­demic year and sta­tus etc, hence my call for ev­i­dence to prove the height of HIV preva­lence in IHES.

Test­ing the hy­poth­e­sis is (in my ex­pe­ri­ence co­or­di­nat­ing one IHES re­sponse) the key and foun­da­tion of a mean­ing­ful re­sponse. Fi­nally, strength­en­ing the re­sponse in IHES is a valid, doable, yet sen­si­tive fron­tier that needs joint ef­forts among all stake­hold­ers in ed­u­ca­tion.

Thus, read­ers need to re­think how an MOU be­tween NAC, ACHAP and LUCT can achieve na­tional and own tar­gets by by­pass­ing CHE, MOET and MOH and other IHES. That is a mys­tery which only the cur­rent CEO of NAC can un­ravel. Mon­aphathi Maraka,

MP Berea #27

woman ac­cused of mur­der” ( Le­sotho Times, 10 Novem­ber 2016).

Andy Mcdougall.

WHY is it that only in Africa we have such lead­ers and such kind of lead­er­ship? It is only in Africa where the gov­ern­ments con­trol the in­ter­net and frus­trate free­dom of ex­pres­sion. Dom­nique Vint.

IN re­sponse to “Govt mulls so­cial me­dia crack­down” ( Le­sotho Times, 10 Novem­ber 2016), no one is enti-

tled to un­der­mine the rule of law by un­der­min­ing our con­sti­tu­tion and our rights.

Phant’si Makobane.

IN re­sponse to “Govt speaks out on Kamoli exit” ( Le­sotho Times, 10 Novem­ber 2016), the United States can also help Le­sotho in the ap­pli­ca­tion and ad­min­is­tra­tion of the rule of law by pro­vid­ing train­ing for po­lice in foren­sic sci­ence and po­lice sta­tions with com­put­ers and In­ter­net ac­cess.

Mam­pela Mpela.

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