202529 Advocacy in Action: The Role of Health Professionals in Reauthorizing the US Global AIDS Program (PEPFAR)

Monday, November 9, 2009: 9:06 AM

Jirair Ratevosian, MPH , Health Action AIDS, Physicians for Human Rights, Cambridge, MA
Pat Daoust, MSN, RN , Health Action AIDS, Physicians for Human Rights, Cambridge, MA
In July 2008, the United States government reauthorized the US global AIDS program (PEPFAR) – a triumph for global health and a demonstration of the unique and powerful voice of health professional advocates. Health professionals in the US, Uganda and Kenya joined a global coalition of activists who successfully advocated for a tripling of the US investment to $48 billion, improving policy targets and repealing the highly discriminatory HIV travel ban within the federal legislation. During the years of planning and negotiation that led to these improvements, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) organized physicians, nurses, public health practitioners and other health activists to sign letters, make phone calls, write reports, speak to lawmakers at town meetings and public forums, testify in Congress and attend strategy summits to promote the best public health and human rights practices to fight HIV/AIDS. In the critical weeks of the reauthorization process, PHR organized thousands of health professionals who educated lawmakers about functional and effective programs and services, regarding the millions of lives saved by PEPFAR. Despite significant improvements in policy, ideology-driven provisions still hinder the effectiveness of prevention programs and enormous challenges remain. Even in the midst of the current economic crisis, activists must remain vigilant in their advocacy to build upon success of PEPFAR and ensure that donor governments uphold their commitments to global health. Creating a health professional advocacy network is challenging, but the rewards, measured by both impact on policy and the growth of a stronger civil society, are significant.

Learning Objectives:
1. Participants will learn about PHR’s innovative advocacy model to harness the specialized skills, rigor, and passion of doctors, nurses, public health specialists, and scientists, PHR investigates human rights abuses and works to stop them. 2. Participants will learn how US health professionals are uniquely qualified to advocate for global AIDS policies 3. Participants will learn how to replicate this effort using health professionals

Keywords: Advocacy, HIV/AIDS

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: of my background, training and current capacities mobilizing health professionals around campaign issues to advocate for evidence-based human rights policies.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.