POLICY PROJECT BACKGROUND
TAG worked closely with Washington, DC-based advocacy organizations and coalitions on the content and passage of reauthorizing legislation for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) for fiscal years 2009 thru 2013. Efforts on PEPFAR reauthorization have focused on ensuring that the legislation is explicit in its support and promotion of WHO’s Policy on Collaborative TB/HIV Activities and in its intent to increase efforts to identify and treat people living with HIV (PLWH) co-infected with sputum smear-negative (SS-) pulmonary or extrapulmonary TB. SS- and extrapulmonary TB (i.e. TB outside the lungs) is found more often in PLWH vs. HIV-negative individuals. TAG also works to support passage of authorizing legislation to increase U.S. efforts to prevent and control HCV and TB domestically, including greater resources for research and development for new TB diagnostics, drugs and an effective vaccine.
In terms of annual U.S. congressional appropriations, TAG combines its efforts with other advocacy organizations to call for much needed increases to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support basic science research and a robust AIDS research agenda. TAG supports increased appropriation for U.S. domestic and global TB programs in line with resource estimates outlined in the Stop TB Partnership’s Global Plan to Stop TB 2006-2015 and additional resource needs estimated by the World Health Organization's Stop TB Department for multi drug-resistant (MDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant (SCR-TB). TAG works in coalition with other organizations to achieve greater annual resources for the U.S. viral hepatitis program led by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Finally, TAG and other U.S. advocates work together to ensure that the United States contributes its share of needed resources to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (GFATM). The GFATM has become a major source of financing for AIDS, TB, and malaria providing approximately 25% of all external resources for AIDS and 2/3 of external resources for TB and malaria efforts worldwide.
Global Health Policy
Existing policies promoted by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have impeded critical improvements in the health sector of developing countries. For the World Bank, the promotion of aid via budget support and Sector Wide Approaches (SWAps) is difficult to track resources and link to actual health outcomes. IMF inflation- and deficit- reduction targets typically result in budget and wage bill ceilings which constrain governments’ ability to adequately respond to health crises. TAG has joined with other advocates to bring light to the harmful impact of these policies and to push for reflection and policy reform by these institutions.
TAG has also been helping to lead a global civil society effort to engage in the International Health Partnership and Related Initiatives (IHP+) which includes 14 developing country and 11 donor country signatories as well as the European Commission, African Development Bank, World Health Organization, World Bank, GFATM, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI) Alliance, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNAIDS, UNICEF, UNDP and UNFPA. The initiative was launched by the UK government in fall 2007 and aims to increase coordination and financing amongst donors and international health agencies in order to accelerate progress towards reaching the health Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). TAG has been working intently to raise awareness of the IHP+ and mobilize broad civil society engagement at the global and country levels. TAG’s efforts have also focused on bringing civil society together around common principles and raising civil society concerns to IHP+ partners.