Resources for improving national responses to HIV and STIs

The purpose of these resources

These resources aim to build country leadership of more effective responses to the HIV and STI epidemics. They describe how to bring together government leaders, community leaders and health experts to develop more effective prevention, treatment and care strategies. The resources aim to:

  • Build national teams to lead the responses to HIV and STIs
  • Ensure that planning takes account of evidence, including the results of research and people’s own experiences
  • Strengthen political commitment
  • Enable shared planning by groups of people from governments, community groups, vulnerable populations, and people who live on both capitol and outer islands.

These resources were prepared by Burnet Institute, based on lessons learned over four years of supporting leadership in Pacific Island Countries, from 2009 to 2012.

The project title was Strengthening capacity for preparing national HIV and STI strategic frameworks in Pacific Island Countries.

Past and present Burnet staff who worked on this were Dr Tamara Kwarteng, Suzanne O’Neill, Bruce Parnell, Chris Hagarty and Dr Ben Coghlan.

There are three components of National Strategic Frameworks for HIV and STIs: - National Coordinating Mechanisms - National Strategic Plans - National Monitoring and Evaluation Frameworks.

Burnet formed national planning teams and built their capacity to develop national strategic plans. The national monitoring and evaluation frameworks were developed by countries with support from SPC and UNAIDS.

The Solomon Islands national planning team using one of these resources to review their current strategies and the nature of the HIV and STI epidemics.

How to access these resources

  1. Start by downloading How To Use These Resources.
    This is a 10-page document that outlines the whole process. Within this document there are references to all the other PDF documents you can download. This first document also provides more details on the purpose of using these resources.

The other documents that you can download include:

  • 11 processes used to support development of National Strategic Frameworks (PDF)
  • 15 reference documents to further explain why these processes are important (PDF)
  • Examples of 6 National Strategic Plans that were developed using these resources. (PDF)

This means they will appear the same throughout the Pacific. The PDFs are not affected by different paper sizes or by earlier or later versions of Word or Powerpoint.

Burnet is happy for you to use these or adapt them. We would like it if you can acknowledge that you got these ideas from Burnet and SPC.

Where possible, we have acknowledged other sources. But planning resources are used by many people, they are often adapted as they are used, and we don’t always know who developed the first versions of general group exercises.

The processes included here

There is no set way to develop a national strategic framework. Indeed, there are currently no global guidelines on what criteria should be used to assess the quality of national frameworks. This project developed some new processes and used many common processes. This set of resources therefore includes options and examples but not a set of fixed methods.

The resources promote meaningful and sustained participation by all stakeholders. They ensure that no single person or group can dominate the planning process. They ensure that the most vulnerable people can develop confidence and respect from others during the planning process.

A small working group in Federated States of Micronesia. They are developing a Results Matrix to describe their new plans for Monitoring and Evaluation.

Here is an octopus! Look closely and you’ll see how it describes the underlying factors that are driving the epidemics of HIV and STIs in the Marshall Islands. This was developed by a working group using these resources.

Many of the planning processes were fun. Others required more hard work on specific issues. This is a working group in the Marshall Islands, developing ideas on what to include in their plan.

What are some requirements for good national plans?

There are currently no global guidelines on national strategic plans for HIV, let alone for HIV and STIs and Reproductive Health combined.

There are some historical documents, and we have extracted some key points. These are included in the resources that you can download.

What are the steps for developing national plans?

These resources outline some common steps, but allow flexibility for country teams to respond to their own situations, needs and abilities. Not all of these resources were used in every country. The resources were used according to country needs and capacities at the time when Burnet worked with them.

The main processes, outlined in further detail in the document titled How to use these resources, are:

  1. Readiness to Plan (5 days)
  2. Participatory review of existing situations and responses (6-10 days)
  3. Epi Synthesis (prepared by Burnet epidemiologist, Dr Ben Coghlan)
  4. Participatory development of the new national strategic plan (10 days+)
  5. Preparing the Results Matrix (up to 5 days)
  6. Writing the narrative sections of the plan (5-10 days)
  7. Developing a related Monitoring and Evaluation Framework (5-10 days, supported by SPC and UNAIDS)
  8. Costing of national strategic plans: this project did not have the resources to prepare costed plans. Other regional partners were able to support some countries to do this. And others supported costing as part of preparing submissions to the Global Fund, the Pacific Regional Response Fund, or the USA Centers for Disease Control.

Evaluation of this project

An end of project evaluation was conducted by an external evaluator, Bill O’Loughlin. It describes the project and how it worked. This report is only 20 pages and is useful reading for anyone considering developing their own national strategic frameworks. Download Resource P – Evaluation of this project

Examples of completed National Strategic Plans developed using these resources in 2011 and 2012

FSM (permission received Jan 2012) National Plan FSM 2012 near final draft

RMI (permission received Jan 2012) National Plan Marshall Islands 2012 Solomon Islands Kiribati Cook Islands

Participatory planning includes lots of work in small groups. Then lots of reporting back to larger groups and making final decisions. Here is a reporting back session from the Marshall Islands.

Burnet’s involvement in supporting responses to HIV and STIs in the Pacific

This project arose from Burnet’s previous experience in capacity building for improved responses to HIV and STIs in Pacific Island Countries over 15 years. This included short and long term projects, such as the Pacific Regional HIV Project, and various consultancies for UNAIDS over this period.

The project was developed and implemented in close collaboration with members of the Pacific Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Working Group, jointly convened by SPC and UNAIDS. Other members of this working group during this project included UNDP, UNFPA, WHO, Oceanic Society for STI and HIV Medicine (OSSHM), Pacific Islands AIDS Foundation (PIAF), Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT), UNIFEM (now replaced by UNWomen).

The team for this project included:

  • Dr Tamara Kwarteng: proposal development, conceptual framework, technical advice in the first years
  • Suzanne O’Neill: proposal development, conceptual framework, program management 2010-2011, technical advice, and direct support for developing strategic frameworks in Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Marshall Islands, Tonga and Kiribati
  • Bruce Parnell: program management 2012, technical advice, and direct support for developing strategic frameworks in Solomon Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Marshall Islands, Kiribati (final stages) and Cook Islands
  • Chris Hagarty: technical advice, preparation of Navigation Cycle, and direct support for developing strategic framework in Solomon Islands
  • Dr Ben Coghlan: technical advice on epidemiology, and preparation of Epi Syntheses for Solomon Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Marshall Islands and Kiribati
  • We acknowledge the important support of Burnet’s administration and management staff over the four years of the project: Dean Garreffa, Kevin Hodgson, Viv Newton, Mark Tennent and Lucina Schmich.

In the northern Pacific, the project also collaborated from time to time with the Pacific Islands Jurisdictions AIDS Action Group (PIJAAG), USA Centers for Disease Control, the Pacific Islands Health Officers Association, The US Department of Health and Human Services, and the Asian Pacific Islander Americans Health Forum.




These resources were prepared by Burnet Institute, based on lessons learned over four years of supporting leadership in Pacific Island Countries, from 2009 to 2012.


SPC, UNAIDS and other regional partner organisations supporting more effective responses to specific issues (UNICEF, UNDP, WHO, Oceanic Society for STI and HIV Medicine, Pacific Islands AIDS Foundation, Pacific Regional Rights Resource Team).


Pacific Islands HIV and STI Response Fund, managed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.


Contact Details

For any general enquiries relating to this project, please contact:

Bruce Parnell

Infectious Diseases and Health Systems Strengthening Specialist