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Healers Abroad: Americans Responding to the Human Resource Crisis in HIV/AIDS
Recommendation 1a: Mobilize providers and capacity developers. The committee believes that a wide variety of health professionals and other key technical and management personnel will be essential for achieving the PEPFAR goals of treating 2 million HIV-infected people, preventing 7 million new HIV infections, and caring for 10 million HIV-affected individuals and vulnerable children (the 2-7-10 PEPFAR goals), as well as for building the long-term capacity necessary to control HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Therefore, the committee recommends that the programs of the U.S. Global Health Service initially focus on the mobilization of clinicians, technicians, and management personnel in direct response to specified in-country needs to achieve PEPFAR goals. In view of the lack of human resources for health in PEPFAR focus countries and many other developing countries, education, training, and development of new, effective configurations of health care delivery in resource-poor settings will take high priority among the U.S. Global Health Service’s activities.
VISION AND MISSION
The desire to perform volunteer service was first noted as a distinctly American trait by Alexis de Tocqueville in the early nineteenth century. Multiple examples since that time attest to the service and compassion of many Americans toward fellow citizens at home and around the world. Today, an unprecedented medical tragedy offers a new opportunity for Americans to give and give back. The vision behind the committee’s proposal for the GHS springs from a shared conviction that health is a human right, and one that can be attained in a global context only through the coordinated efforts of committed partners.
The mission of the GHS is to be flexible and responsive to the needs for human resources for health identified by countries whose citizens are most affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic and other global scourges; to provide expertise in the form of caregivers, technical advisers, trainers, and mentors; and to sustain enduring relationships after working with colleagues on the ground.
Why “Global Health” and Not Just “HIV/AIDS”
The committee understood that the participants and programs it envisioned would have, as their primary agenda, a commitment to helping PEPFAR reach its ambitious 5-year goals (i.e., providing antiretroviral therapy [ART] for 2 million people; preventing 7 million new HIV infections; and providing care to 10 million people infected with or affected by