Decentralisation has become a widely debated issue in the international development agenda and many developing countries are currently undergoing reforms in their systems to redefine roles and functions of lower levels of governments. Specifically on the HIV/AIDS sector, decentralisation has been considered essential to respond adequately to the epidemic in order to enhance commitment, coverage and effectiveness at the state and district levels. Decentralisation can thus guarantee more equity in the provision of health services by lowering barriers to health access as district hospitals, health centres, communities and non-state providers become better able to act as entry points for HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support.
The UNICEF’s South Asia Regional Office (ROSA) is engaged in a regional policy research initiative that aims to broaden and inform national policy processes and to contribute to increasing regional awareness of what it takes to establish appropriate decentralisation policy frameworks. As part of this research initiative, ROSA solicited the UNICEF’s Innocenti Research Centre (IRC) to conduct an analysis of the effects of decentralisation on equity in the HIV/AIDS sector specifically.