Tackling HIV & AIDS: The Task Ahead

The Secretary of State for International Development, Douglas Alexander MP, was the key speaker at this event, chaired by APPG Vice-Chair, Neil Gerrard MP. Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Gillian Merron MP, who has special responsibility for HIV and international development, was also one of the speakers.

The event considered the recently-launched AIDS strategy, ‘Achieving Universal Access’, and how it was going to move from strategy to implementation. It was attended by a wide number of charities interested in HIV and development. A question and answer session with the Ministers was a large part of the event.

There were a lot of questions about what indicators the Department for International Development is going to use to assess its success in implementing the strategy. NGOs were encouraged by the Department to make their views known on this as indicators were still being developed. There were also questions about the division of funding between NGOs, bi-lateral funding and funding to multi-lateral organisations such as the World Bank. The APPG will continue to push for clarity on these issues.

Minister, Gillian Merron, explained how important she felt that taking a ‘health systems approach’ (ie funding whole health systems, by paying for nurses for example, rather than disease-specific funding) was and referred to some of the evidence behind the decision to take that approach. She argued that the UK Department for International Development was a global leader in this respect.

The meeting ended with a powerful tribute from the Secretary of State to Neil Gerrard MP, who has recently stepped down as Chair of the Group.