Political economy of decentralising HIV and AIDS treatment services to primary healthcare facilities in three Nigerian states
Decentralisation is defined as the dispersion, distribution or transfer of resources, functions and decisionmaking power from a central authority to regional and local authorities. It is usually accompanied by assignment of accountability and responsibility for results. Fundamental to understanding decentralisation is learning what motivates central governments to give up power and resources to local governments, and the practical significance of this on their positions regarding decentralisation. This study examined key political and institutional influences on role-players’ capacity to support decentralisation of HIV and AIDS treatment services to primary healthcare facilities, and implications for sustainability. In-depth interviews were conducted with 55 purposively selected key informants, drawn from three Nigerian states that were at different stages of decentralising HIV and AIDS treatment services to primary care facilities. Key informants represented different categories of role-players involved in HIV and AIDS control programmes. Thematic framework analysis of data was done. Support for decentralisation of HIV and AIDS treatment services to primary healthcare facilities was substantial among different categories of actors. Political factors such as the local and global agenda for health, political tenure and party affiliations, and institutional factors such as consolidation of decision-making power and improvements in career trajectories, influenced role-players support for decentralisation of HIV and AIDS treatment services. It is feasible and acceptable to decentralise HIV and AIDS treatment services to primary healthcare facilities, to help improve coverage. However, role-players’ support largely depends on how well the reform aligns with political structures and current institutional practices.
Keywords: decentralisation, institutional, influence, role-players, support