HIV/AIDS and the well-being of mothers and children are two critical areas in health and development. Our Advisory Group on Health works to end the epidemic and significantly improve the health of women and children everywhere.
Its work is part of our overall commitment to health and to helping achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Set up in 2006, initially to focus on HIV/AIDS before expanding its remit to include Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH), the group helps parliaments to create effective laws to respond better to HIV/AIDS and to ensure access to health care for mothers and children. It fights discrimination and punitive legislation, and addresses the direct link between HIV/AIDS and women’s sexual and reproductive health rights.
It guides parliaments on implementing international commitments on HIV/AIDS and MNCH, helps design information and training material for MPs to strengthen parliamentary action on the issues, and conducts field visits to assess national responses to international commitments, and to scrutinize the process for law reform. It documents good practices and makes recommendations for change.
The Advisory Group can take action to support parliaments which have asked for assistance on either HIV/AIDS or MNCH. Help can be offered to deal with the specific issues such as increasing access to medicines, health care, improving the legal framework or improving human rights.
Broad areas of focus normally include legislation and its enforcement, discrimination, access to treatment and the situation of children, especially orphans.
The Group is the only IPU body which includes technical partners with an advisory role. Current partners are UNAIDS, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis, the World Health Organization and the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.
Meeting twice a year and reporting to the IPU Governing Council, its 12 members from among national parliaments are all experts in the field. They are appointed by the IPU President for a single four-year term, bearing in mind geographical representation and gender balance. The Chairperson is elected by the group's members.
At present, 60% of the members of the Group are women.