Geneva, Switzerland – 23rd of May, 2017.
Substantive progress has been achieved through the HIV response to reduce new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths. However, discrimination, stigma, violence and grave human rights violations continue to pose important challenges for people living with HIV, key populations most affected by the epidemic (including gay men and other men who have sex with men, transgender, injecting drug users, and people who sell sex), and women. Young people aged 15-24, and especially adolescents from these populations, are at increased risk and vulnerability of being discriminated against and stigmatized.
In many settings, young key populations continue to be criminalized, and adolescents face prohibition to access sexual and reproductive health services, including HIV testing, due to harmful legal and policy barriers related to age of consent. In countries with high levels of early and forced marriage, adolescent girls also face constraints to access services due to laws and policies requiring spousal consent. Examples of discrimination in health-care settings also include misinformation, requiring third-party authorizations for the provision of services, lack of privacy and breaches of confidentiality.
Healthcare services are one of the most common settings in which discrimination, stigma, and violence against people living with HIV, key affected populations, and women, take place.
In response to these persistent challenges, in 2016 the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) the Global Health Workforce Alliance in March 2016, launched the Agenda for Zero Discrimination in Healthcare Settings.
The International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA):
- Having met in Geneva on 17-21 of May 2017 at a pre-conference hosted by IFMSA, with the support from UNAIDS and The PACT, previous to the Seventieth World Health Assembly;
- In collaboration with young people living with HIV and young key populations most affected by HIV, and in support of the Agenda for Zero Discrimination in Healthcare Settings;
- Acknowledging our important role to eliminate discrimination in health care, as medical students, future doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals, young activists, and change makers;
Presents this Declaration of Commitment to Eliminate Discrimination in Healthcare Settings.
Declaration of commitment
We, the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA), having revised the Agenda for Zero Discrimination in Healthcare Settings, and established an ongoing dialogue with young people living with HIV and young key populations most affected by the HIV epidemic, supported by UNAIDS and The PACT, a global coalition of youth-led and youth serving organization and networks working on HIV and sexual and reproductive health and rights;
- Endorse the Agenda for Zero Discrimination in Healthcare Settings, and vow to continue strengthening our individual and collective efforts in response to this Agenda, to eliminate discrimination in the healthcare, and to advocate for the protection and fulfillment of all human rights, for everyone, everywhere.
And commit to;
- Establish, nurture and operationalize a Memorandum of Understanding between IFMSA and youth-led and youth serving organizations and networks working on HIV and sexual and reproductive health and rights, to define concrete and joint activities to contribute to the elimination of discrimination in healthcare settings.
- Advocate for and communicate information related to, and our progress to achieve the objectives enclosed in the Agenda for Zero Discrimination in Healthcare Settings at country, regional and global levels, including in decision-making and health policy fora in which IFMSA participates.
- Keep strengthening IFMSA’s capacity building through the provision of sensitizing workshops and training sessions to medical students on sexual and reproductive health and rights, HIV, non-discrimination, gender equality and human rights.
- Promote the leadership of health-care associations in actions to shape a discrimination-free health workforce ensuring at the same time that medical students and health-care workers enjoy their rights free from stigma and discrimination.
- Encourage, through this Declaration, all medical students in the world to commit to eliminating discrimination in health care, challenge harmful norms and practices that pose barriers to people’s access to sexual and reproductive health and HIV services, establish partnerships with the community, people living with HIV and most affected by the epidemic, particularly young people including adolescents, young key populations, and young women, and strive to strengthen our role as change makers to end AIDS by 2030.
- Advocate with Member States, government authorities, UN entities and other multilateral and bilateral cooperation bodies, civil society partners, key stakeholders and the general population to commit and enforce enabling laws and policies that protect, promote and fulfil human rights and young people’s autonomy, and mobilize to eliminate discrimination in healthcare and in any other setting.
- Encourage and strengthen the collaboration with our colleagues from other organizations and networks of health workforce around the world, to follow our example and join us in committing to eliminate discrimination in health care by adhering to the Agenda for Zero Discrimination in Health Care and take concrete actions to tackle this problem worldwide.
- Identify opportunities to mobilize the necessary resources to eliminate discrimination in health care settings.
The International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA) envisions a world in which medical students unite for global health and are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and values to take on health leadership roles locally and globally. Founded in 1951, it is one of the world’s oldest and largest student-run organizations. It represents, connects and engages every day with an inspiring and engaging network of 1.3 million medical students from 132 national member organizations in 124 countries around the globe.
Firas R. Yassine
Vice-President for Public Relations and Communication 2016-17
(E): [email protected]
(T): 00 961 71 571 260