STOPAIDS want our next government to ensure the UK is a proud global leader in international development, working to create a sustainable world where everyone has an equal opportunity to live a healthy, safe and prosperous life, regardless of where they are born. The UK has a significant role to play in tackling health injustices and achieving the target of ending AIDS by 2030 as set out in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly through supporting countries to deliver publicly-funded Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
Progress in the global HIV response is too slow, which means that we are off track to meet the SDG 3 target of ending AIDS globally by 2030. In order to get us back on track the next government must commit to:
- Take urgent measures to increase the UK’s financial commitment for the global HIV response in order to fill significant funding gaps.
- Addressing the punitive laws, social stigma and structural discrimination that often block key populations from accessing HIV testing and treatment services they need.
- Ensure communities are at the forefront of efforts to accelerate the response, recognising the critical role they play in delivering services, holding decision makers to account and demanding political leadership.
- Oppose provisions in free trade agreements that strengthen intellectual property rights beyond what is required in the WTO Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement, as these have an adverse impact on access to medicines.
- Ensure medicines that have been developed with the support of UK taxpayer money are affordable in low and middle income countries.
- Commit to publish a full framework for ensuring countries experience smooth transitions along the development continuum if and when aid relationships change.
Ending AIDS by 2030 requires a comprehensive approach to global health security. To protect and advance global health, the next government must commit to:
- Ensure greater coherence across Her Majesty’s Government’s investments in global health, through creating a cross-government global health strategy, which is centred around achieving SDG3 and UHC by 2030. This strategy should also outline a multisectoral approach to tackling the determinants of health or access to healthcare, for example across education, water and sanitation, nutrition, climate change, agriculture, tax, trade and arms sales.
- Ensure all investments in global health contribute towards achieving UHC and strengthening health systems, especially through building capacity for primary health care. In order to do so, the next government must:
- Support countries to develop their own transparent and accountable UHC national roadmaps, engaging stakeholders across civil society, communities and youth in the process.
- Finalise and publish DFID’s Health Systems Strengthening position paper, in collaboration with civil society partners.
- In line with national UHC roadmaps, support countries to decrease maternal mortality and under 5 mortality, eliminate diseases such as malaria, AIDS, tuberculosis and neglected tropical diseases, significantly reduce premature mortality from non-communicable diseases and increase access to sexual and reproductive health services.
- Support countries to develop strong taxation systems to fund UHC.
- Support low and middle-income countries to use the flexibilities enshrined in the World Trade Organisation’s agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) to improve access to affordable medicines.
- Leverage UK medical and technical research capabilities, promoting innovative ways to delink financing R&D from the price of products and support the establishment of southern-led partnerships to address global challenges and deliver innovations to the people that need them.
- Utilise the UK’s position on global health multilateral boards, such as the Global Fund, UNITAID and GAVI, to ensure that health systems strengthening and achieving UHC remains a primary objective. The UK should also utilise key global ‘moments’, such as the UK’s G7 2021 presidency, to establish clear objectives and prioritise UHC and health systems strengthening.
The fight to protect global health is inextricably linked to international development. To achieve the SDGs, the next government must commit to:
- Maintain a cabinet level minister for international development with oversight of all government department policy and aid spending, and an independent and fully resourced Department for International Development (DFID).
- Continue to meet the 0.7% GNI target for ODA, and prioritise UK aid spending focused on human development, ensuring continued multilateral and bilateral support for global health.
- Target this spending to leave no one behind and reaching the furthest behind first. DFID must also strengthen its eligibility criteria, which allocates support and resources according to need, to include a country’s debt burden, level of economic inequality, and prevalence of certain diseases.