Wealthy countries need to invest every penny they can to combat global epidemics. Massive inequity in access to health care means that millions of people die each year of preventable, treatable diseases like HIV, TB and malaria. But who should be eligible for global health aid? Not so easy to answer. We’re stuck with some 20th century tools that don’t fit our high-velocity, globalizing world.
The banners are rolled up, the Durban Convention Center floors are swept and the 18,000 delegates to the International AIDS Conference have all gone home. For many, the euphoric week of hugs, protests and panels blew by too fast. As global funding shrinks, there won’t be many more of these massive meetings. That makes it all the more critical to step up investment in and support for civil society now, as the engine that has driven funding, research, science and innovation in the AIDS response. Two recent reports I wrote explore both innovations and the challenges in actually getting the funds to communities.
The first was a report for African Men for Sexual Health and Rights (AMSHeR) on key populations’ engagement with global health financing. I worked at the Global Fund in 2013-15, during roll-out of the “new funding model”, and pushed for space for communities to advocate at the country level as an integral part of that model. So the job of assessing key populations’ satisfication with that experience felt a little like my old Human Rights Watch colleague Marc Garlasco, who did high-value targeting in Iraq for the Pentagon before he went to the war zones for HRW to document civilian casualties caused by the bombs. (Though I hoped that the Global Fund’s “new funding model” had been less damaging than the Iraq invasion.)
“Well, good-bye. I must be going on.” Pooh started to climb out of the hole.
He pulled with his front paws, and pushed with his back paws…and then…
“Oh, help!” said Pooh. “I’d better go back.”
“Oh, bother!” said Pooh. “I shall have to go on.”
“I can’t do either!” said Pooh. “Oh, help and bother!”
“The fact is,” said Rabbit. “You’re stuck.”
“There’s only one thing to be done,” said Christopher Robin. “We shall have to wait for you to get thin again.”
— A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Reposted from Health and Human Rights Journal
Now that members of the UN have adopted the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the next question is: how to pay for it all? The answers raise questions about aid eligibility, transparency and accountability. Continue reading