It is impossible to look back at ITPC’s work in 2019 without reflecting on this new reality we find ourselves in. Mid-way through 2020, we are in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic. In addition to the hundreds of thousands of lives lost, and an uncounted number of survivors with severe side effects, coronavirus has disrupted our lives and the world as we knew it. From where I am in Johannesburg, South Africa, this has ranged from devastating economic consequences for people who work on the streets to disruptions in essential medicines as global supply chains falter.
And yet as much as I have experienced moments of fear and anxiety about the consequences of this pandemic, I have also been reminded of why the work that ITPC does is so vital. Communities have never been more important in trying to keep people safe and healthy. As coronavirus demonstrates, while governments play a critical role setting policy and guidelines, it is communities that determine how well these will work in reality. The race for a coronavirus vaccine reminds us that a vaccine will be meaningless if it is out of reach for the majority of the world’s population due to patents.
ITPC’s work in 2019 reflects our commitment to sustained, community-driven activism. Our groundbreaking Community Treatment Observatory model expanded from West Africa to Southern Africa, resulting in concrete improvements to health facilities for people living with HIV. Our work to challenge unfair intellectual property regimes and make medicines affordable soared, as new patent oppositions were filed around the world and dozens of lawyers were trained to fight inequitable patent regimes.
At the core of our work remains our treatment education, which continued last year to adapt and improve the way people learn about their bodies, medicines and how to stay healthy. As we look back on the year but also towards the future, it is clear that the lessons learned from community-led HIV advocacy and health programs can inform our broader health responses. Communities are not waiting to be invited to the table or included in your study, they are leading the way.
This Annual Report showcases work completed under ITPC’s Strategic Plan 2018-2020. It highlights our successes, challenges and operational capacity in what was a challenging year, but also show what investments in communities can achieve. Our work continues to provide practical solutions for communities responding to the current pandemic crisis, and we remain committed to providing proven patterns for navigating together through whatever comes next.
You can also view the online summary or download the PDF.