People are a key resource in HIV/AIDS-related treatment work. Managing people requires planning to make sure they have the appropriate skills, training, rewards and remuneration, management, support and supervision.
The skills and training required will depend on what tasks are to be done. Providing a service such as specialist treatment of infections will require different skills from providing basic essential medicines. However, all types of work will need people with a combination of technical and personal skills.
Training can initiate, update and develop the knowledge and skills of workers. It will help them to work more effectively and efficiently, and to be more confident. Training is beneficial for volunteers as well as paid staff. Resources for training will often be available, particularly through linkages with donors and government.
Active supervision and support are necessary to support training. Different people may need training on different things, depending on their work. Training may be needed in areas such as:
• technical skills
• personal attitudes
• team-building and participative working
Planning a training programme for HIV/AIDS-related treatment
Key issues to consider when planning a training programme:
• Who needs the training?
• What kind of training do they need?
• Who can provide the training?
• What methods of training should be used?
• What material or financial resources will be required?
• How will you monitor the effectiveness and value of the training?
In addition to providing training, it is important first to check that working conditions are acceptable and meet ethical and legal standards. For example, are the procedures for hiring, disciplining and dismissing people fair and legal? Taking care of these aspects makes good sense. Staff who are treated fairly will feel respected and supported by their employers. They will respond more readily to requirements for them to work hard and effectively.
Staff are paid a wage for their work. Volunteers are not usually paid, but might receive expenses for related costs, such as travel. Pay and rewards for all workers should be fair, but they should also take into account what people value most. Employees might value additional benefits, such as food or help with transport. Recognition and praise from a manager and colleagues can also be rewards in themselves.
Volunteers are an important group of workers for many NGOs/CBOs. Some of them may be people living with HIV/AIDS themselves or affected by HIV/AIDS in some other way. The first step in recruiting volunteers is convincing community members that there is work to do and that voluntary help is necessary.
Good management and support involves good interpersonal skills and guidance to help people to do their work. Managers should collaborate with their teams to identify needs, set objectives, and plan, implement, review and evaluate their work. If possible, anyone responsible for organizing the work or for managing other people should receive specific training in relevant areas. Clear management structures are also important, so that everyone knows to whom to report and to whom to turn if they have a problem.
Good management is not just about getting the job done. It also matters how the job is done. It includes motivating and encouraging all concerned, sharing responsibility and providing support.
Work in HIV/AIDS-related treatment can be stressful. Good supervision can help in coping with this, but it must be confidential so that people can talk freely. Supervision can involve taking an objective look at how the work is progressing - for example, asking whether drugs are being dispensed correctly. Supervision is more effective if it also takes into account what is happening to individuals. For example: Is someone having difficulty carrying out their work or do they have problems outside work?
Managers should ensure that support and supervision are adequate, whether provided by themselves or fellow workers. Regular meetings are another important way to support the management of a project and to prevent staff burnout.
Meetings for managing work on HIV/AIDS-related treatment
Examples of meetings to help in the management of treatment work:
• weekly case management meeting
• monthly meeting with people receiving treatment
• monthly staff meeting
• regular retreats or parties
• an annual review and replanning meeting.