Publisher: Health and Human Rights Journal, December 2015, Vol 17, No. 2
In response to new scientific developments, UNAIDS, WHO, and global health financing institutions have joined together to promote a “fast-track” global scale-up of testing and treatment programs. They have set ambitious targets toward the goal of ending the three diseases by 2030. These numerical indicators, based on infectious disease modeling, can assist in measuring countries’ progressive realization of the right to health. However, they only nominally reference the catastrophic impact that human rights abuses have on access to health services; they also do not measure the positive impact provided by law reform, legal aid, and other health-related human rights programs. Drawing on experience at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which has incorporated expanded stakeholder consultation and human rights programming into its grants, the article argues that addressing human rights barriers to access is often an ad hoc activity occurring on the sidelines of a health grantmaking process that has focused on the scale-up of biomedical programs to meet global health indicators. To ensure that these biomedical programs have impact, UN agencies and health financing mechanisms must begin to more systematically and proactively integrate human rights policy and practice into their modeling and measurement tools.