Saving the Swazi Nation, mutual accountability, medical circumcision, a special envoy steps down and more . . . We’re reading about what works, what doesn’t, what remains to be seen

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NewWWRThe Campaign Against AIDS in Africa is Saving Lives – Why Isn’t the US Investing More In It? – James North, who spent four years in Swaziland before  AIDS  began to take a toll there, recounts the  epidemic’s impact on the country from 2008, when death notices filled the newspapers, to 2014, when seven percent of the population is on life-saving antiretroviral medicine. Against that backdrop, he questions the Obama administration’s proposal to flat line funding for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and asks why the successful program gets little publicity.

Joining Forces Through Mutual Accountability – The attributes Dr. Paul Zeitz  calls for in pursuit of sustainable development goals in this Huffington Post piece seem particularly applicable to global health efforts, including, as they do, accountability, transparency, participation that includes civil society, voluntary commitment, data-driven action and more.

PLOS Collection: Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention: Improving Quality, Efficiency, Cost Effectiveness, and Demand for Services during an Accelerated Scale-up – This collection presents looks at medical circumcision for HIV prevention programs since 2008 in Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and Lesotho, with research and analyses looking at challenges, successes and opportunities.

UN Backs Down Over Conflict of Interest – When United Nations Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa Speciosa Wandira-Kazibwe kept a low profile as Uganda’s sweeping and damaging “Anti-Homosexuality Law” was passed, considered, signed, and enforced, AIDS-free World leaders, one of whom, Stephen Lewis was the first to hold the post, highlighted the reason: she worked for the very government that enshrined the law. Lewis pointed out that conflict of interest violated international conventions and made her appointment inappropriate — and useless. Now AIDS-free World announces that while the UN has not acknowledged the error, or announced Wandira-Kazibwe’s departure, her contract has ended three weeks after her formal welcome. The search for a replacement, presumably is on, with a wealth of conflict-of-interest-free and deeply committed candidates across the continent, but AIDS-free World points out that without public acknowledgement of what went wrong this time, it could happen again.

Appeal to World Bank to protect LGBT Ugandans – Comprehensive coverage of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Law and its consequences continue from the 76 Crimes blog, with a look here at the changing status of a planned World Bank loan to the nation, the government’s impossible pledge that the law (which criminalizes providing services to gay people) would not affect health services, subsequent revelations of guidelines reinstating the provision in an earlier version of the bill that will compromise provider patient confidentiality, and a letter from justice and health advocates that the World Bank take concrete steps before sending money.

Evidence Review on LGBT Issues – When the Ugandan Parliament’s Anti-Homosexuality bill landed on President Yoweri Museveni’s desk last December, the longtime leader called for scientific evidence to back or dispute the need for a law. The “evidence” of outdated and refuted reports was assembled in private, led two members of the committee that put it together to quit, and, all the same was used by Museveni as rationale to sign the law. Here Dr. Chris Beyrer of the Center for Public Health and Human Rights, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health does the homework for future legislators and leaders considering passing similarly damaging and demagogic laws.

Understanding the New Funding Model, An Aidspan Guide – From its origins and philosophy, to the concrete steps of the new “concept notes” to transition provisions, this 67-page guide from Aidspan aims to make the complex accessible for anyone interested in how the Global Fund distributes grants.

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