Global Health Council
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2009)|
|Focus||Health access and information|
|Scott Jackson, president (2013- )|
|Slogan||to ensure that all who strive for improvement and equity in global health have the information and resources they need to succeed.|
The Global Health Council is a United States-based non-profit networking organizing linking "several hundred health non-governmental organizations (NGOs) around the world to share knowledge and resources, build partnerships and together become stronger advocates for health". The Council is the world's largest membership alliance dedicated to advancing policies and programs that improve health around the world. The Council serves and represents thousands of public health professionals from over 100 countries on six continents. They work to address health concerns worldwide in five core issue "identified as critical to improving health and promoting equity" to "reduce disease and death in all countries":
The council sponsors international conferences, makes available a diverse field of multi-disciplinary specialists for media interests and policy makers. According to their website the Council "works to ensure that all who strive for improvement and equity in global health have the information and resources they need to succeed." On April 20, 2012 the Board of Directors announced that the Council will close operations within the coming months. After shutting its doors, GHC re-opened with a newly elected board of directors on January 1, 2013.
The Global Health Council is continuing to grow as the voice for global health by using media outreach and its publications, including the Global Health Magazine ", its annual conference and its website to promote advocacy, education and information sharing.
As the council evolved, its name had to evolve to correctly reflect the scope of the Council's work. In 1998, the National Council for International Health became the Global Health Council to better represent its work in the 21st century. The inclusion of global in its name reflected the Council's goal to include more international organizations and individuals in its membership and become the preeminent non-governmental source of information, practical experience, analysis and public advocacy for the most pressing global health issues.
Since 1998, the Council has been organizing the Global Health Action Network in pursuit of its advocacy building goals." The idea is to establish groups of motivated citizens across the U.S. with the objective to educate local communities and their elected officials about the need for a more proactive approach to global health. With this network in place, the Council is able to implement nationwide advocacy campaigns dealing with vital global health issues.
As part of the Council's work in advocacy and developing awareness of the AIDS crisis, the seventeen-year-old International AIDS Candlelight Memorial event came under their stewardship in 1999. The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial has grown to include 1,500 communities in more than 100 countries. It is the world's largest and oldest grassroots HIV/AIDS event.
The Council administers a number of prominent awards. Some of the recipients have been barred from traveling to receive them which has brought attention to their work. In addition to the following honorific awards the organization also confers the "Best Practices in Global Health Award" and the "Excellence in Media Award for Global Health".
Jonathan Mann Award for Health and Human Rights
The Jonathan Mann Award for Health and Human Rights is named for former head of the World Health Organization (WHO)'s global AIDS program, Jonathan Mann, who resigned to protest the lack of response from the United Nations and WHO with regard to AIDS. In 2001, the recipient was Gao Yaojie, a retired Chinese gynecologist and one of China's foremost AIDS fighters who helped poor farmers in Henan Province that were infected with H.I.V. through selling their blood at for-profit and unsanitary collection stations. Yaojie was denied permission to attend an awards ceremony in Washington with Secretary General Kofi Annan of the United Nations as her host.
In 2008, the Mann award was to be given to Binayak Sen, a prominent Indian doctor responsible for drawing up one of the most successful community-based health-care models in India — based on the traditional mitanin, a health worker who advises the rural poor on preventive care — making health care available to many who had lacked access. He had been a vocal critic of the government's use of armed groups to push villagers out of mineral-rich forests to boost development and was jailed in April 2007 on sedition charges, including allegedly being linked to Maoist rebels and smuggling a letter for an accused Maoist prisoner he had visited. Sen denies the charges and his effort to get the award in person was bolstered by 22 Nobel laureates; he is out of jail on bail.
Named for and funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Microsoft Corp. founder and his wife, the Gates Award ($1 million) is administered by the Council. In 2004 the award went to Fazle Hasan Abed and his organization, Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), one of the "world's most successful development organizations, credited with improving the health and welfare of tens of millions of destitute people in Bangladesh". Past winners include the Rotary Foundation, which has raised millions for an ongoing global campaign to stamp out polio.
From its inception through the 1990s, the Council was principally funded by grants (primarily from the U.S. Agency for International Development [USAID] and the Centers for Disease Control [CDC])." In 1998, Nils Daulaire, formerly of USAID, became president of The Global Health Council and felt that the council should be an independent voice. The council diversified its funding as a matter of principle, even though at the time its policy agenda was consistent with that of the then administration. By 2003, only 20 percent of the council’s funding came from the U.S. government."
As part of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, US government support for AIDS prevention was contingent on opposing prostitution starting in 2003. The Council preferred to remain neutral so as not to alienate sex workers from their ant-HIV efforts so they sued in federal court with other non-profits. In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court found that the requirement violated the First Amendment's prohibition against compelled speech in Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society International, Inc.
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