A little more than four years ago when the then new Global AIDS Ambassador Eric Goosby came to a town hall style talk at the Kaiser Family Foundation to discuss the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief, the idea of “country ownership” of AIDS-fighting efforts came up once, in a question put to him about engaging civil society.
Today, as Goosby returned to the Foundation, this time in his additional new role leading the Office of Global Health Diplomacy, “country ownership” was a thread that wove his talk together, as one of the areas “that has converged” to make for a “remarkable moment.”
But the talk of engagement centered on leadership.
As in “leadership must be engaged to concretize the commitment.”
Which raises the question: what role is there in “country ownership” for people who hold their leaders accountable?
And raises another question: what is going to be concretized?
In many countries, amfAR Public Policy Director Chris Collins noted, the Institute of Medicine evaluation of the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief that was released last week cited “enormous unmet needs” among populations marginalized by government laws and policies. Civil society groups advocate for those populations, Collins said but, “Even just today I heard from two countries examples where civil society has been effectively shut out of the discussions around the country operational plan.”
Goosby, in turn cited,”societal and cultural barriers,” which, he said, leave “a lot to orchestrate.”
Teams in country are “juggling a lot,” he said.
“We do need to figure out a meaningful way to have community from country input into that process of planning,” Goosby added, “I do need to make it clear and it would be in the form of something like a cable or directive.”
He would, he added “take ownership” of the need to support efforts to include advocates along with officials in health responses, and in, perhaps, eventually determining what ownership means.
For the complete discussion see the town hall forum webcast “What’s next for U.S. Global Health Diplomacy?”