The law on our side: legal support for IAPO members
IAPO and Advocates for International Development (A4ID), set up by 1,000 London based legal firms to provide pro-bono legal services to international NGOs in their development work, have formed a partnership to improve our members’ access to legal expertise to increase their impact in low and middle-income countries.
Health is a central pillar of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals that will be published in September 2015. Around the world, patients’ organizations work tirelessly on behalf of patients to improve their access to basic health services, and to assist them in sharing the fruits of development by engaging in developmental activity addressing social determinants of health like education, jobs, housing, transports systems and gender equity.
However, our members know very well that ‘structural factors’ can be a big barrier to improving health systems. In these cases we know that the law itself can act as a barrier to achieving our aims of establishing patient-centred health systems globally.
Legal support for members
A4ID will ensure that legal support is available for all our members involved in the fight against poverty, and will help us have the skills and knowledge to use the law as an effective development tool. Our partnership will support local members to make health services accessible, acceptable, equitable, affordable and quality assured in clinical practice and other service delivery areas.
As this is a complex undertaking, we will be initially concentrating on Africa and South Asia. In this region we want to pilot this initiative in Kenya and India. These countries have a very good legal and communication infrastructure, with the legal systems based on common law and a vibrant community of public interest lawyers.
We are at a planning stage at the moment and have further discussions with A4ID to design this complete service. We will be reaching out to our members in Africa and South Asia to define the key needs.