This week the global health community lost one of its most ardent supporters, Rep. Donald Payne (D -NJ). Payne passed away Tuesday afternoon from complications related to colon cancer. During his 25 years in Congress, Payne worked tirelessly to further the cause of global health and humanitarian issues in general. As one of the original drafters of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights, Payne helped to improve the lives of millions living with HIV/AIDS while instilling hope for a better, healthier future for millions more in Africa. Congressman Payne was also a huge champion for the US investment in global tuberculosis and a founding member of the Congressional Malaria Caucus.
In a statement, U.S. Global AIDS Ambassador Eric Goosby said, “Rep. Payne was a tireless advocate for humanitarian support to developing countries, particularly in Africa.” He added, “Speaking for the PEPFAR family to whom Rep. Payne gave so much, I offer my sincere condolences to his family, friends, staff and constituents. While we mourn his loss, we also celebrate his legacy and honor the tremendous impact that his life’s work will continue to have on millions of people around the world, from Newark to Nairobi.”