Social Contracting: Hope for Expanded HIV Services in Guyana
December 5, 2017
In mid-November nearly 50 civil society, private sector, and government stakeholders and donors gathered in Guyana, helping to move the country closer to establishing public financing of civil society-led HIV services. Health Policy Plus (HP+) is providing technical support to the national AIDS program secretariat to plan for Guyana's transition from external to domestic financing of HIV programs and services. Part of this technical support includes the development of mechanisms the government can use to directly support civil society through new "social contracting" measures.
Social contracting is the process by which public funds are used to support nongovernment entities to provide services typically provided by the government. Social contracts include a legally-binding agreement in which government agrees to pay an entity—e.g., a civil society organization (CSO) or private-sector clinic—for services rendered and, in return, the entity agrees to provide certain deliverables, typically in the form of health services or outcomes.
Participants at the "Consultation on the Development of Models or Approaches to Social Contracting and Costing for CSO Services in Guyana," examined findings of a legal and regulatory framework for social contracting, discussed the costing needs of CSOs, agreed on recommendations, and prioritized next steps for the development of a social contracting mechanism for the provision of key HIV services.
Among the outcomes of the meeting, participants agreed to move forward with a social contracting model. Implementation of the model will include developing a process for pre-qualifying CSO applicants to receive government funding and an open and transparent process for the awarding of contracts. Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Valerie Lowe, and representatives from USAID and UNAIDS were on hand throughout the event.
Going forward, HP+ will provide additional support to Guyana's mobilization of domestic resources for HIV programs, including developing costing of civil society-led services and programs and technical assistance to Guyana's high-level HIV Transition and Sustainability Steering Committee.