Professor Nana Poku.

HEARD’s Executive Director Professor Nana Poku is a member of an international panel of experts appointed by the Equitable Access Initiative (EAI),  tasked with developing a global framework for equitable access to health.

EAI is an initiative established by the Global Fund and several partner agencies to promote global equitable health access.

The panel, which will meet for the first time in Geneva, Switzerland, in February, is co-chaired by the former Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, Mr Pascal Lamy, and the President of the African Development Bank Group, Mr Donald Kaberuka.

Other panellists include the Director General of the World Health Organization, Ms Margaret Chan; the Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Mr Michel Sidebe; Executive Director of the United Nations Development Programe (UNDP), Ms Helen Clarke; Vice-President of the World Bank, Mr Timothy Grant Evans, and the Executive Director of the Global Fund; Mr Mark Dybal.

As a former Executive Director of the United Nations Commission for HIV and AIDS in Africa and the architect of the global campaign to put three million people on treatment by 2005, Poku brings a wealth of experience to the panel. 

‘The panel operates in an analytical manner,’ said Poku. ‘For example, it will review the case for developing a global access framework beyond pricing; identify and address gaps in evidence, build arguments and models to support decision options; and develop action plans to help address the problem. There is a heavy emphasis on, and engagement with, countries, their experiences with the problem and solutions, and their needs for the future.

‘There are now more than 100 Middle Income Countries (MICs) accounting for five of the world’s seven billion people where we also find the greatest disease burden – and where more than 75 percent of the world’s poor now live,’ said Poku.

‘Despite increased Gross Domestic Product (GDP), many MICs are still unable to provide key elements that contribute to improved access to essential health commodities for their citizens. Key populations who are often marginalised or criminalised frequently experience significant challenges in accessing essential health commodities, even when governmental institutional frameworks exist.’