STIRC awarded funds for a “Short Intensive Professional Program in HIV“
The University of Sydney, in association with the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), has been successful in obtaining an Australian Leadership Awards – Fellowships (ALAF) for 10 public health professionals in India to build their capacity in research, health program management and policy development.
The award will fund a “Short Intensive Professional Program in HIV“, led by Professor Adrian Mindel, A/Professor Richard Hillman and Dr Shailendra Sawleshwarkar from the Sexually Transmitted Infections Research Centre (STIRC), Western Clinical School, University of Sydney and will commence in late August for a period of 3 months. The program includes specialist training, visits to Centres of Excellence, leadership workshops and the award of the International Professional Certificate in HIV Infection (IPC-HIV) for those who successfully complete the program.
HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) present major public health challenges to both developing and developed countries, with millions of adults and children becoming infected and dying each year. The evolving epidemics have particularly affected resource-poor countries, leading to increased demand for both educational opportunities and research skills in these areas. One of the strategies of Phase-III of the Indian National AIDS Control Programme is strengthening human resources and the PHFI is a major contributor to this. STIRC is an internationally renowned research and teaching centre within the University of Sydney. It provides excellent opportunities to achieve very high levels of knowledge and skills in the diagnosis, management and control of STIs & HIV.
HIV/AIDS significantly impacts on the developmental outcomes of countries such as India, where 2.5 million adults currently live with HIV. An adequately supplied and well-trained workforce is thus an essential component of the health care system. This Program complements Australia’s new international development strategy for HIV 'Intensifying the response: Halting the spread of HIV', with regard to the Millennium Development Goal Six - to combat HIV/AIDS and work towards universal access to HIV prevention, support, care and treatment by 2010.
The Short Intensive Professional Program in HIV provides a comprehensive overview of the prevention and management of HIV infection. The program also provides opportunities to enhance professional experience and develop networks, by attendance at the Australasian HIV conference, visits to centres of excellence, work placements and leadership development activities.
As envisaged in the Joint Statement of both Prime Ministers in 2009, India and Australia are building a broad knowledge partnership, including developing collaborative projects in education. The higher education institutions (universities and vocational training institutions) in both nations have an important role to play in such partnership, including cooperation in science and technology.
The Joint Ministerial Statement between the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations of the Government of Australia and the Ministry of Human Resource Development of the Government of India, released on 8th April 2010 called for an expansion of the existing exchange program agreement to include greater cooperation across all education sectors –schools, vocational education and training (VET) and higher education including technical and professional education through supporting the exchange of government officials and educationalists for continuous professional development. The University of Sydney’s “Short Intensive Professional Program in HIV“is an excellent example of this Ministerial Statement in action.
At the end of the program, participants will be able to use their skills to build capacity in the prevention and treatment of HIV in India. This program will also provide Fellows with the opportunity to collaborate with Australian counterparts and to develop a network for ongoing advice, assistance and collaboration. It is thus highly likely to contribute to the growing collaborative relationship between the two countries.