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By Mara Bolis
EDITOR’S NOTE: Mara will be speaking on a panel, “Her Money, Her Voice,” at Global Washington on February 7, 2019, discussing women’s economic empowerment and political engagement.
What makes a woman speak out when everything about her context suggests it would be much easier to stay silent? In Mali, a country where women have historically held political and economic power, yet, where polygamy is common and women are largely subordinate to men, a woman decided to speak out. She had participated in an Oxfam program that supports the development of women’s savings groups called “Saving for Change” (SFC) and provides basic civic education. She worked with her peers to create a theatre performance for local officials to show the social impact of having poor access to water. She wrote of her experience:
“Putting that piece together made us learn to speak, and now we can’t be quiet.” Read More
With the passing of a “glitter” baton, the 2018 Women of the World breakfast celebration reignited the Seattle community’s passion and dedication to philanthropic causes around the world.
On December 6, more than two hundred women eagerly awaited the start of what promised to be an inspiring and emotional event. Braving the cold, dark morning, they were greeted by the uplifting music of the Seattle Women’s Steel Pan Project, perfectly complementing the energy in the room. Read More
On November 30, PATH, USAID and Vietnam’s Ministry of Health launched a national program intended to substantially reduce new HIV infections. Global Washington conducted the following Q&A about the new initiative over email with Dr. Kimberly Green, director of PATH’s HIV and TB program.
Why is PATH advocating that pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) be made widely available in Vietnam? What lessons did you learn during this process?
PATH is a trusted partner of the Vietnam Ministry of Health (building off of nearly 40 years of work together), and is known and appreciated for facilitating introduction of new, impactful health technologies and approaches. Most recently this included piloting and then scaling HIV lay and self-testing. From 2015, when WHO first included PrEP as part of global HIV prevention guidance, the USAID/PATH Healthy Markets project fostered technical consultations with the MOH to determine if, when and how PrEP would be introduced. With concerns over increasing HIV prevalence among key populations and a growing demand for new HIV prevention options, the MOH agreed that PrEP be included in the HIV 5-year action plan and to pilot PrEP service delivery. Another step that was critically important was working with men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender women (TGW) to better understand demand, willingness to pay and service delivery preferences for PrEP. Once the MOH and the USAID/PATH Healthy Markets project had agreement on the service model, a pilot launched in March 2017. The results were very rapidly positive so the MOH decided to use the preliminary results to add PrEP to national HIV clinical guidelines. This led to greater support within and outside of Vietnam to support the scale-up of PrEP. The recent launch is a result of this cumulative commitment to scaling PrEP and accelerating the reduction of new HIV infections Read More