For the last six months, members of the IMAXI Cooperative and over a dozen comrades and colleagues have been collaborating, as volunteers, on an innovative research and development project that we call ‘All Aboard’. It brings together a diverse group of activists, academics and experts to focus on improving the participation of those most affected by the decisions and policy-making processes within global health — poor people living with life-threatening diseases and life-changing disabilities. We want to learn how to arrange a ‘seat at the table’ for those that are excluded today.
The All Aboard research team is conducting a comprehensive study to assess the state of community participation in the governance of key institutions in global health, including the United Nations agencies (WHO, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNICEF, UN Women) and two major foundations, the Global Fund and Gates. Together, we plan to produce a high quality paper for publication in the prestigious peer-review scholarly journal, Global Health Governance, and towards this, our abstract has been accepted.
Although we have had delays and breakdowns that left us immobile in the station on a few occasions, we are now rushing ahead non-stop – like the Midnight Express we roll-on through the night towards our destination. We have conducted literature and document reviews, completed most of the interviews with the ‘key actors’ in global health that we needed, and prepared the (community-made) civil society survey to go out next week. The time-line is tight, and we’ve a challenge ahead of us to finish writing the paper for the deadline for its submission. We hope that when successfully completed, this evidenced-based research can contribute to advancing, in all of the global health institutions, the right to meaningful participation and accountable representation of those most at risk of “being left behind”.