Side Effects: Persecution of Health Workers in Nicaragua

Lori Hanson Dia de los Trabajadores de la Salud (Health Workers Day) on 9 August was a somber and bitter affair in Nicaragua this year. Rather than celebrating, the Nicaraguan Medical Association (AMN) marked the day recounting medical personnel affected by the ongoing political crisis in Nicaragua—the dead, the wounded, the persecuted, and the fired. Hundreds of medical students and health professionals have been affected—and countless numbers of patients stand…

AIDS 2018 – Debates Over Best Use of Global Funds

Sara L.M. Davis Steadily growing rates of HIV infection in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) are at the heart of a debate roiling health aid at AIDS 2018. While US funding for the global HIV response increased in 2017, that trend is unlikely to continue and most other donors cut back, according to a new report from Kaiser Family Foundation and UNAIDS. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB…

AIDS 2018 – New Technologies, New Data, New Risks

Sara L.M. Davis Data has been a hot topic throughout the first two days of AIDS 2018—who has it, how to get it, and what kinds of data can speed progress to the end of AIDS. But while new technologies are generating real excitement among donors and researchers, human rights activists are rarely in these discussions, leaving questions of risk and ethics largely in the shadows. Some new methods that…

AIDS 2018 – Award to Allan Maleche: A “Tireless Crusader”

Sara L.M. Davis AIDS 2018 is honoring human rights advocates and acknowledging their work is becoming ever more challenging in many countries. At the opening ceremony, the Elizabeth Taylor award went to Kenyan rights advocate Allan Maleche, executive director of KELIN. He won the award for KELIN’s successful litigation for the rights of people living with HIV and TB in Kenya. In accepting the award, Maleche said, “There are many…

AIDS 2018 Kicks Off: Warnings of a Resurgent Pandemic

Sara L.M. Davis The International AIDS Conference opens today in Amsterdam, with up to 19,000 scientists, activists, and officials coming together from around the world. The world has come a long way since the last time the meeting took place here, in 1992, with old and new challenges on the horizon. In 1992, an old world order was giving way: South Africa was dismantling apartheid, Russia was an emerging democracy,…

Civil Society Unites to Fight for Affordable Medicines

By Fran Quigley Frustration over Congress’s failure to reduce prescription drug prices is bringing civil society organizations together. Drug prices are continuing to increase far above rates of inflation, year after year, and more than 80% of American voters think lowering drug prices should be a priority for Congress. The civil society groups uniting to fight for their right to medicines vary in experience with some having long, international legacies of…

“Everyone Said No”: Key Populations and Biometrics in Kenya

By Sara L.M. Davis and Allan Maleche Hands off our fingerprints! That was the message from Kenyan civil society activists who blocked the use of biometric data, such as fingerprints or iris scans, in a government study of HIV. This case study of rights advocacy is the subject of a report, Everyone Said No: Biometrics, HIV and Human Rights, a Kenya Case Study, published by KELIN and the Kenya Key…

Patient Advocacy Successes in Fight for Medicines

By Fran Quigley Access to essential medicines is a well-established component of the human right to health, but it is a right that remains elusive for millions of people across the globe. The United Nations estimates that 10 million people each year die because they cannot afford medicines. Even in the United States one out of every five Americans does not fill a prescription each year because they cannot afford…

Situating Global Health Fieldwork Ethics within the Right to Health

Rachel Hall-Clifford When I began working as a medical anthropologist on childhood illness in Guatemala over a decade ago, I wanted to explore what the right to health meant for communities targeted by global health initiatives and how local people experienced those programs. I had training in anthropology and public health, including field methods and research ethics, and I felt ready to take up my small area of work in…

Subverting Rights: Addressing the Increasing Barriers to Reproductive Rights

Joseph J. Amon and Nina Sun The US State Department released its annual report on human rights on 20 April. The first report of the Trump administration garnered headlines because it stripped all references to reproductive rights, eliminating a section that had previously reviewed access to contraception and abortion, as well as maternal mortality ratios, for every country. The message is clear, but in case there was any confusion, Ambassador…