Guest post Deborah Derrick, President, Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
Read Part 1 from last week, where Deborah introduced what the Global Fund has learned from the past decade and how those lessons have impacted their model and approach.
Collaboration Is the Key
The Global Fund has always operated with a country-led approach, but experience has taught us that some countries take human rights issues more seriously than others. How, then, can the Global Fund ensure that often-marginalized populations are addressed on the ground? The answer is building human rights more deeply into Global Fund systems to ensure increased, upfront collaboration between all necessary stakeholders.
The Global Fund’s new funding model is doing just that. It is advancing a bold new approach to human rights, both in-country and at headquarters. In the new model, country and Global Fund representatives, along with civil society and local disease experts, join in a “country dialogue” that involves looking at the country’s national health strategy and reporting timelines, mapping out donor assets, and assessing what interventions will have the greatest impact.
An integral component of this upfront dialogue is the increased engagement of civil society, including a broad range of human rights advocacy groups. Because of the value of this network’s ability to assess the needs of and reach marginalized populations, the Global Fund is expanding its work to engage a broad field of advocates to ensure that effective and appropriate human rights interventions are considered during the country dialogue. At headquarters, it is now also providing human rights training to its portfolio managers and setting up a human rights reference group.
The value of civil society groups extends beyond the country dialogue and well into the implementation of the grant programs. They ensure marginalized and vulnerable individuals remain in health programs once they start and that they get the most appropriate services – largely education and awareness. Understanding that a strong health system must reach far past the clinic and extend deep into the community, the Global Fund helps to ensure these groups have the right to register as organizations, share health information freely, and drive health policy improvements.
The changes in the Global Fund’s new funding model are, of course, designed primarily to address the goal of saving as many lives as possible. But these operational changes can help to boost human rights and drive meaningful societal change as well.
By providing treatment and care to marginalized populations, we will bring them more fully into the human fold, change social norms of what is expected and possible, and save lives. Such is the power of health care to foment change.
Deborah Derrick is the President of Friends of the Global Fight, a U.S.-based advocate for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. She's worked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and as a senior advisor at the State Department, on Capitol Hill and for the United Nations.