Global AIDS Policy Team, established 2003 & Southern Africa Health & HIV Adviser, 2006-2009

With Babatunde Osotimehin, then Chair of the Nigerian National AIDS Commission, debating next steps on global AIDS policy

I was recruited by DFID to establish and lead of innovative multi-sectoral global policy team on AIDS in the newly re-organised DFID headquarters Policy division. I build a team of some 14 talented staff and consultants from diverse backgrounds and countries. This was a time of massive public attention for global AIDS policy and we were responsible for regular submissions, briefings and strategic advice for Ministers, other government departments, the Prime Minister’s office; and securing the UK’s leadership of international negotiations and partnerships on AIDS.

Key achievements:

  • Co-ordinated and delivered first government-wide strategy on AIDS, triggering global policies, eg Universal Access agreements (through G8 and UN resolutions);
  • Led global processes resulting in novel approaches to coordination of cluttered sector to improve performance at country level through better working across UN agencies and key donors in support of countries, notably acting as UK lead to deliver “The Three Ones”, and co-convening the Global Task Team on Improving AIDS Coordination Among Multilateral Institutions and International Donors;
  • Ensured Ministers were well supported to respond to extensive public interest in DFID position on AIDS, delivering quality responses to extremely high volume of public enquiries, multiple parliamentary questions and debates;
  • Established and convened first ever cross-Whitehall group on AIDS, and worked with other departments on key policy issues (eg TB and HIV screening for students);
  • Represented the UK on delegations to the UN GA, UNAIDS and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria; advocating successfully for UK positions on harmonization and alignment, scaling up of rights based response to HIV, Global Fund reform processes.
Co-Chair of the EECAAC 2009 speaking about the impact of HIV on Russian drug users

Southern Africa: Moving to the most affected region of the world

As senior regional health and AIDS Adviser for the UK in Southern Africa, I led high quality professional health advice, secured external representation and oversaw the design, delivery and accountability of over £115 million quality programmes and policies on Health and AIDS in Southern Africa, covering the SADC (Southern Africa Development Community) region, and bilateral programmes in Angola, Lesotho and the Republic of South Africa.

Key achievements:

  • Performance management and conclusion of complex technical assistance programme working across 5 provinces and several National Ministries across South Africa, to sharpen and focus the programme to deliver stronger results and greater impact;
  • Devised and implemented innovative, flexible short-term £5m fund for new South African Health Minister Barbara Hogan to re-invigorate the health response and reverse historic policies and mismanagement at the National Department; design of £25m long term support for Minister Motsoaledi to scale up integrated programmes on HIV, sexual health and maternal & child health;
  • Re-shape Angola programme, with government of Angola and UNICEF, to focus on maternal & child health as well as HIV and sexual health;
  • Enhance and developed innovative programme in Lesotho working with the private sector to protect and promote health among highly vulnerable women working in the garment industry;
  • Supported innovative behaviour communication strategies, working through the multi-media programme Soul City to scale up programmes and capacity building across SADC;
  • Finalized new SADC-wide regional programme on access to medicines, after nearly 10 years of design process, and bureaucratic challenges;
  • Designed new regional programmes of support for WHO Afro and sub-regional offices, UNAIDS East & Southern Africa programme and for key regional civil society networks;
  • Integrated health issues into DFID’s broader development, in particular trade & economic growth work, to ensure health enhancing sectors achieve results.