In March 2018, OPTIONS completed its first Plan 4 PrEP Learning Collaborative (P4P LC) with six participating countries—Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. Designed to help countries in all stages of oral PrEP rollout—from those countries in early stages of consideration to those are actively planning for rollout—the three main components of the learning collaborative are:
- Training and support for countries to complete relevant systems analyses using the Plan 4 PrEP Toolkit
- Opportunities to share experiences among participating countries and from OPTIONS country partners
- Opportunities to learn about and from other projects (ex. HP+, Project SOAR, DREAMS)
- Conceived in the summer of 2017 to leverage oral PrEP introduction experience in OPTIONS countries to support other countries to roll out PrEP in the region
- High level of enthusiasm for the Learning Collaborative – six countries participated with staff from implementing partners, ministries of health, national AIDS councils, PEPFAR, USAID, CDC, and DOD
- More than 40 people from participating countries attended the two-day, in-person kick-off session in Johannesburg in December 2017
The response to the Learning Collaborative was overwhelmingly positive; all countries used at least two of the tools in the Plan 4 PrEP toolkit and found the sharing of experiences of oral PrEP rollout from the OPTIONS countries to be incredibly beneficial.
While the long-term impact of this work is unknown, we have some initial evidence from the final evaluation interviews that the Plan 4 PrEP Toolkit and Learning Collaborative methodology had an impact on national planning and rollout of PrEP in the countries that participated most regularly. We found the five major benefits of participating in the learning collaborative to be:
- The toolkit enabled countries to plan systematically for PrEP introduction
- The toolkit helped countries identify gaps in emerging PrEP plans
- The Learning Collaborative helped countries integrate effective practices into PrEP plans
- The tools were useful to track collective progress toward PrEP introduction
- The tools and Learning Collaborative helped build confidence for PrEP introduction and accelerate the process
OPTIONS will follow up with participants in the coming months to assess the longer term impact of the P4P LC.
Building on the success of the first P4P LC, OPTIONS will host a second round of the Learning Collaborative this fall. Policymakers and implementing partners from countries in any stage of planning for PrEP rollout are invited to attend, and project implementers who have relevant tools and/or information are also welcome to reach out. If you’re interested in participating, please email OPTIONS Project Manager, Martha Larson.