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World Bank calls for focused, local HIV/AIDS research

A review of Bank HIV/AIDS programmes implies their evidence base has been weak.

(20 Oct 05)

The first comprehensive evaluation of the World Bank’s complete HIV/AIDS assistance up to 2004 has concluded that more and better-focused local research and rigorous analysis is needed to ensure the success of its programmes.

Country-based research has so far not been sufficiently focused on programme priorities, the report says.

Prepared by the Bank's independent Operations Evaluation Department, the report recommends that the Bank should in future work to improve the local evidence base for decision-making, and create incentives to ensure that decisions are guided by that evidence, together with “rigorous analytical work”.

The Bank should also help governments to be more strategic and selective, to prioritize activities that will have the greatest impact; and strengthen national institutions for managing and implementing the long-term response, particularly in the health sector.

Programmes have failed to reach people with the highest risk behaviours, and the political commitment and capacity of countries have been overestimated, and need to be continuously addressed, the report says.