2014 has been an extraordinary year for global health and for infectious diseases -for all the right and wrong reasons-which we certainly ought to seriously reflect on. I very much believe that it will be the lessons we learn from this year`s experiences that will help us approach what is shaping up to be nothing less than a momentous 2015 for global health.
We must honour his vision for universal healthcare and inclusive access to innovative financing for health by developing further partnerships that can enact real change. Every one of us within the global health community can set forth a ripple of hope through our actions, but together, we can become the current that Joep was, and change the very nature of global health.
The 1980s was a watershed decade. From the perspective of human rights, it was the decade when the United Kingdom (UK) began the process towards the successful shift from a system of government premised principally on civil liberties to one that recognised that the human rights of all within the jurisdiction also needed to be promoted and protected.
Across the UK, children have been the biggest winners, their lives having been transformed on every level by the HRA. Victims of crime and sex offences in particular have also been significant beneficiaries of the HRA. And the other identifiable group whose lives have been altered beyond recognition has been the gay and lesbian community.
In a taped recording he left to be played in the event of his assassination, Harvey Milk, America's first openly gay elected official, left a message for our times. "All young people," he said, "regardless of their sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment to achieve their full potential." Nowhere is the world further from that goal than in Africa.
It is peculiar that repressing sexuality is a relatively recent phenomenon in India, sexuality was not a taboo always! The first literature on the science of sexuality, the nude artistry in Ajanta caves in South India and the erotic 9th century Hindu temples, are profound evidence in favor of sexual expression, found in both sculptures and scriptures in India.