Alongside the UN General Assembly, the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI) convened a group of global health experts to discuss why strong policies and public investment in health systems are essential to improving health at scale on September 20. “The Future of Global Health Advocacy” featured:

  • Emmanuel Alhassan, PhD, Nigeria Coordinator, Global Health Advocacy Incubator
  • Mary Bottagisio, Executive Director, La Liga Contra la Violencia Vial
  • Kelly Henning, MD, Public Health Program Lead, Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Lucy Sullivan, Senior Vice President, Global Health Advocacy Incubator

Dr. Henning explained why Bloomberg Philanthropies is committed to policies for change: “Our approach is to follow the data and build strong partnerships with national and local governments and organizations, sharing and helping implement solutions proven to save lives. What the evidence shows is that public policy shapes health outcomes. That’s why we support advocacy to make effective and lasting changes at scale.”

Following the opening remarks, the panelists discussed their work as part of successful, locally led policy advocacy campaigns and discussed the critical role that civil society advocacy plays in building public support and political will for them.

Ms. Bottagisio presented the example of Ley Julián Esteban. The new law mandates safer roads in Colombia. Part of the reason for its successful passage into law was a highly effective communications strategy that presented road safety as not only a public health issue but as a human rights issue and children’s rights issue. Her comments included a moving reminder that advocacy is crucial to health equity: “Advocacy means people should have a say in the policies that shape their environments. I founded my advocacy organization after I lost my sister. I don’t want anyone else to experience that.”

Dr. Emmanuel Alhassan spoke on successful civil society advocacy in Nigeria that led to a substantial increase in funding for the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and dedicated funds for epidemic preparedness in Kano and Lagos states.

Dr. Alhassan also introduced the Budget Advocacy Toolkit for Epidemic Preparedness, which was developed by GHAI with support from Resolve to Save Lives. This resource can be used to support advocacy for increased and sustained domestic investments in epidemic preparedness.

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