Introduction Effective public health responses in prevention and management of HIV/STIs require strong human resources, focused on the development and implementation of evidence-based policies. We wished to explore how best to leverage Australian pedagogic and research skills in HIV/STIs into an Indian setting, in order to build human resource capacity.
Methods An appropriate institutional partner in India was chosen on the basis of their academic track record. Financial support was obtained from the Australian Government’s aid agency. Three phases were developed:
Phase 1: Stakeholder consultation and survey to establish local needs, together with pedagogic skill development at the partner institution;
Phase 2: Curriculum mapping and development to reflect local educational priorities;
Phase 3: Pilot delivery, followed by regional expansion.
Results The University of Sydney partnered with the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), due to their focus on public health education, coupled with their technical and pedagogic expertise. 27 local faculty members of PHFI and affiliated organisations were trained in Australia and an enabling environment created by reciprocal visits and close collaboration. Forty three stakeholders from 14 Indian institutions participated in the national consultation. These included academic institutions, the National AIDS Control Organisation, NGOs and prospective participants. The preference was for a 6-month course focussing on public health aspects of HIV/STIs.
To minimise costs, an e-learning site was developed using open source software and containing jointly developed content. The pilot course was delivered in 2013–2014, subsequently extended to include a regional component. A total of 53 students have successfully completed the course to date.
Conclusion Clarity of purpose, careful matching of institutions and effective communication were keys to building informed partnerships. The leveraging of existing expertise, local adaptation, together with the use of open-source software has led to the development and running of a cost effective, scalable capacity-building resource.
Disclosure of interest statement Australian aid agency of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia funded the project.