UCLA global health program report highlights successes
The UCLA Program in Global Health has released a report highlighting some notable accomplishments of several of the organizations that received grants from the Ford Foundation's Global Initiative on HIV/AIDS-and notes areas that require continued attention in the fight against the epidemic.
"Protecting Human Rights and Promoting Social Justice: Highlights from Global Lessons Learned About HIV/AIDS Leadership, Equity, Accountability and Partnerships (LEAP)," released July 21 at the International AIDS Conference in Vienna, is a policy-oriented report intended for funders, policymakers, and others to stimulate a continued commitment to the principles of leadership, equity, accountability, and partnerships, and supporting organizations involved in this work.
The organizations' efforts on social justice and human rights issues are critical to meeting the challenges of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the coming years, said Greg Szekeres, associate director of the UCLA Program in Global Health.
"They are rooted in the communities most affected, can be flexible in responding to a shifting landscape, and can address politically sensitive issues that governments and multilateral organizations may be unable or unwilling to," he said. "They are critical in making certain that those most at risk, most affected, and most disenfranchised are able to take a leadership role in crafting the ongoing response to the pandemic."
The initiatives and their accomplishments include:
- Advancing Women's Leadership and Advocacy for AIDS Action
Led by the Center for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA), this initiative has trained 140 women in Africa, Asia and Latin America to advocate for effective HIV/AIDS policies, increase funding, and prevent the spread of AIDS with the help of community based programs and services.
- World AIDS Campaign
The global coalition focuses on leadership development, pairing youth advocates with established leaders, who together work on developing the youths' leadership skills, raising awareness of issues affecting youth, and initiating new programs.
- Women's Health in Women's Hands (WHIWH)
A community health center in Toronto, Canada providing health care for women from African, Caribbean, Latin American and South Asian communities, WHIWH has developed a three-year strategic communications plan for the African and Black Diaspora Global Network on HIV and AIDS (AB-DGN).
- World Young Women's Christian Association (World YWCA)
This network of women from 125 countries dedicated to social and economic change has developed projects that advocate for the rights of women and girls and has developed training programs in four worldwide regions that have reached 340 women.
- AIDS Accountability International (AAI)
Established to increase accountability and inspire a bolder response to HIV/AIDS, AAI has developed scorecards tracking progress on HIV/AIDS issues.
Comprising sociologists, journalists, social workers, lawyers and others working toward a democratic and peaceful culture to conquer AIDS, GESTOS has launched a program to monitor and strengthen the White House's National AIDS Policy sexual and reproductive health efforts for women in 16 countries.
- Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership on HIV/AIDS (CBMP)
Comprising more than 100 broadcast companies, CBMP organizes workshops to educate writers and producers on issues related to HIV and stigma, as well as coordinating with national and international partners to develop public service announcements and other educational projects.
- The Art | Global Health Center at UCLA
The center uses the power of art to advance global health and the fight against AIDS through photographic projects, exhibits and arts-based peer-education programs around the world.
The report also highlights that, in a world with a growing number of HIV-infected persons, there is a need for continued focus on the following:
- Developing and implementing innovative HIV prevention strategies that fully engage individuals and communities, while not jeopardizing their autonomy
- Addressing issues of stigma and discrimination
- Working on legal reforms to ensure that the human rights of people infected, at-risk, or otherwise affected by HIV/AIDS are protected
- Continuing to make progress on reducing gender inequality and examining the ways in which gender dynamics can influence HIV dynamics in societies
- Ensuring that, in addition to services for prevention and treatment, infected and affected individuals have access to psychosocial support services
- Providing interventions to the large numbers of orphans and families affected by HIV, to prevent them from being marginalized in societies
- Balancing HIV/AIDS in the broader context of health care, including sexual and reproductive health and maternal and child health, particularly in settings where access to health services is already poor.
The UCLA Program in Global Health partners with academic institutions in developing countries to advance prevention, policy, and clinical research for HIV/AIDS and other diseases in all regions of the world. The program works with its partners in developing countries to integrate treatment and prevention of HIV, implement innovative prevention programs, stimulate the implementation of beneficial policies and laws, address gender inequity, and train the next generation of scientists in the United States and both scientists and advocates in developing countries to continue this essential work.