I got invited to speak at the thematic session during the 43rd UNAIDS Program Committee Board meeting. I was one of three speakers in the session on mental health of caregivers and advocates. The session’s organizer explained to us during the dry run that we had 50 minutes to share. I was slightly disappointed to learn that members of the committee are not required to attend the presentations. Yes, they are not necessarily basing their decisions on the testimonies from civil society. Rather, the excercise their power to block consensus or threaten to withdraw financial supports.
Most delegates told us that this rarely happens but guess what? It did happen and it didn’t look pretty. With that said, I hope membets of the committee have what they needed to integrate mental health support into the current system of delivery.
Here’s what happening that I am aware of: PEPFAR is contemplating adding Quality if Life to their Country Operational Plans (COP). This would allow PEPFAR to fund mental health and other services that are related to quality of life. But they need public comments that support this change in order to move this agenda.
Here is a link to the draft where feedbacks on PEPFAR COP 2019 guidance can be made. The guidance is used to determine what can be funded at country level by PEPFAR. And the dealing is on December 21, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time so HURRY!