AHPN at Deutsche AIDS-Hilfe Conference, Cologne, Germany
On the 29th September 2016 the African Health Policy Network (AHPN) was invited to attend an Conference on African communities and HIV in Germany. This was an inspirational conference which brought together representatives from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the UK to share their experiences on working with migrant communities and offer policy guidance and solutions. AHPN had the opportunity of showcasing the great history of AHPN from its’ inception until now. CEO Deryck Browne opened the session by exploring the achievements of the AHPN and his vision for it going forward; “We are taking this organisation to higher level and this takes commitment and passion due to the funding challenges we are experiencing”, he explained. He outlined for the international audience the state of play in the UK and AHPN’s concerns regarding prevention and testing, stigma and discrimination and treatment and care issues; as well as the toxic legacy of the ‘health tourism’ arguments raised by some during the referendum to leave the EU.
Our Community Engagement Officer, Maureen, took on the platform to share with the audience what Ffena (AHPN’s service user network) is all about: where they were and where they are hoping to go. She explained that “Ffena was created to encourage other countries to engage effectively with People Living with HIV and to promote best practice and positive outcomes for the many matters which affect African communities in the UK and abroad.” The speech rounded off with calls for greater involvement of People Living With HIV, as it is the only way forward to influence policy (both nationally and globally).
The conference was a great opportunity to network and form the foundations of partnerships. We are looking forward to building more strong networks in future! This is only the beginning of a strong movement which will see many African communities moving from individualism to organised national and global network strongly pushing for common goals.