Diversity, strength and inclusive health governance: Implementers on the Global Fund Board


The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria has a uniquely democratic and inclusive model of governance. Half of its Board is made up of 10 constituencies representing 123 countries that receive health financing from the Global Fund, as well as civil society organizations, and networks of communities living with HIV and affected by TB and malaria. Last week, it was my honor to join the Implementers Group of the Board to co-facilitate their annual retreat in Nairobi, Kenya.

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Upcoming event: The Uncounted- Visibility and the Politics of Data in Global Health


I’m giving a talk on work in progress at New York University next week – please stop by if you’re free.

The Uncounted: Visibility and the Politics of Data in Global Health

October 3, 2016, 3:00pm – 4:30pm

The Kimmel Center for University Life, Room 907
60 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012

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Don’t Brexit the AIDS response: The world we come home to from Durban


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.)

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Pooh on Brexit

2007-07-18_Warszawa,_ul._Kubusia_Puchatka.jpg“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

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Who Pays to Fulfill Health Rights? Aid Eligibility, Accountability and Fiscal Space

Reposted from Health and Human Rights Journal 

Dollarnote_hqNow 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

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“First they threw Molotov cocktails”: Closing space for LGBT groups

When you’ve done human rights work for a few years, you think you’re all old and jaded and can no longer be shocked, but it’s not true.

I got reminded of this last month when interviewing Sanjar Kurmanov from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) group Labrys, based in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. I reached Sanjar while writing a report for Global Philanthropy Project on how government crackdowns on civil society affect LGBT groups (the report launched yesterday and is online here). Continue reading

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More maps for health rights activists

Noaa_theb1713_1A few months ago I wrote a quick overview of some maps of laws that affect the HIV response. I promised then that I’d post an update if more maps came to light. The launch of the new Sustainable Development Goals seems to be sparking a lot of new maps and indicators, so this may become a regular topic.

For now, here’s three new (or rather, new-to-me) maps on health and human rights. Continue reading

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Who monitors human rights in health?

ONU_Geneva_mainroomThe launch last year of the new Sustainable Development Goals was followed, right before the holidays, by a flurry of new global health strategies from WHO, UNAIDS, UNDP and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.

Human rights objectives featured in each strategy. So how will we know if we reach these goals? Continue reading

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Anti-capitalism in… Geneva?

IMG_20151220_010751Conservative Geneva turns out to be livelier in the middle of the night than it is at 10 am. The Swiss city is so famously quiet there’s a Facebook meme comparing the weekend here to life after the apocalypse. But a walk home from factory-turned-club l’Usine early Sunday morning led past the after-effects of a protest on Rue de Coutance: “Burn the banks”  spray-painted on the bank branches, “Free drugs” on the pharmacy, an Anarchist A on Starbucks and a “Yiihaa” whoop on Manor, one of the city’s two staid department stores.

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Human Rights Day: Action on Rights of People who Use Drugs

From the Graduate Institute Global Health Programme newsletter

December 10 is Human Rights Day, marking the UN General Assembly’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948. This year, Decmeber 10 saw a flurry of activity around the right to health, including a major new statement on the rights of people who use drugs. The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, Dainius Puras, published a powerful open letter to the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The letter received widespread media attention. Continue reading

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