New Grant to Support Human Rights in 10 African Countries

Nov 23, 2015

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Fund have signed a US$10.5 million grant to address human rights barriers faced by vulnerable communities in Africa, and facilitate access to lifesaving healthcare. The grant is the first of its kind and will cover 10 countries including Botswana, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal, the Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Disenfranchised populations such as men who have sex with men, sex workers, people who use drugs and transgender people, systematically face human rights abuses and obstacles to receiving vital health care, such as HIV and tuberculosis (TB) prevention, treatment and care.

“The right to health means that each and every person has the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health,” said Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator. “Together we need to support countries to implement laws and policies grounded in evidence and human rights in order to reduce stigma, safeguard dignity, and ensure access to essential health services for all. Punitive laws and practices impeding effective HIV and TB responses need to be abolished.”

Sub-Saharan Africa has 70 percent of the world’s new HIV infections. Although major progress has been made in recent years to promote better access to health services in most countries, social stigma and discrimination around those affected by HIV continues to hamper their access to life-saving treatment. The grant money will support the strengthening of laws and policies to improve access to healthcare and reduce the impact of HIV and TB on these vulnerable populations.

“We will only end HIV and TB as epidemics if we reach those who are most vulnerable, and this means removing human rights barriers to quality health care,” said Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund.

UNDP will be the principal recipient of the three-year Africa Regional Grant in collaboration with four African civil society organizations – the AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA), ENDA Santé, KELIN, and the Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC). These organizations have recognized expertise in documenting human rights violations, in strategic litigation, advocacy and capacity-strengthening.

The Global Fund partnership was founded with a strong commitment to advancing human rights, and works with countries to identify gaps and help shape their investments more effectively. The promotion and protection of human rights is essential for expanding access to health services, especially for key populations and those who are most vulnerable.

Since 2003, UNDP has partnered with the Global Fund to achieve the common goal of fighting HIV, tuberculosis and malaria more effectively, including among the poorest and most marginalized communities in challenging country contexts.

 

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