As noted by Angela Nguku in your issue on global health philanthropy (Alliance, December 2020), advocacy by civil society has been a critical part of the progress in health over the past 20 years. Civil society advocacy has led to positive impact in HIV, tuberculosis, sexual and reproductive health and disability rights, among many others.
However, advocacy is consistently underfunded. Resources for advocacy cannot come from domestic governments. Advocates require independent funding to work effectively and hold governments accountable. Resources for health advocacy are therefore an essential component of international public and private financing.
At Funders Concerned About AIDS, we recently convened a group of HIV-informed philanthropic organisations in partnership with the Joep Lange Institute to explore the potential for pooled resources to support national level health advocacy.
The success of both the health-related SDGs and universal health coverage is dependent upon the ability of civil society to expand its role as advocates, monitors and implementers. Without coordinated and sustained philanthropic funding this essential work cannot proceed.
John L. Barnes
Funders Concerned About AIDS