Midnight Express: All Aboard!

All Aboard ExpressAll Aboard the Midnight Express!
Depart immediately on the fast track.

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”.

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All Aboard’s Uphill Climb

Uphill Track towards our rightsPushing anything uphill requires more energy than just rolling it along flat ground or coasting down a slope. It’s in our textbook, Physics for Idiots.

The All Aboard research project on participation and representation in global health governance has been on an uphill stretch of track for the last two weeks, and we’ve now arrived at a very steep incline. A number of the collective that are conducting different elements of the research and preparing the paper have been hit by serious health problems at the same time, diminishing our capacity to keep on schedule. With the deadline for the paper’s completion and submission approaching, the track seems to have become more uphill and the load progressively heavier. It’s a strain on our push-power.

It’s time for a renewed collective push with a fresh burst of energy to help get All Aboard up and over the summit on the way to our destination. We’re almost there — one last blast of fuel is what is needed.

We are presently conducting interviews of ’key actors’ – the people who direct or run the UN agencies and programmes involved in global health and have experiences in its governance. These telephone interviews are an important part of the research, providing personal perspectives and views that help us to assess where the institutions are in regards to the participation of those affected most by health inequities.

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