When the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) launched the PEPFAR Dashboards last year -- enabling all to view, download, and utilize PEPFAR data -- it was recognized as a critical step to drive program transparency, mutual accountability, and impact. It was also an outward expression of a fundamental shift in the way PEPFAR does business, one that puts data at the center of our program and policy decision-making to save more lives. Data are about much more than a collection of facts and figures; they enable us to do more with each dollar we invest -- reaching more individuals, families, and communities with life-saving care and support services. This week, at the Financing for Development Conference, PEPFAR was proud to build on this commitment and introduce new ways we are using and sharing data to achieve an AIDS-free generation.
PEPFAR is joining public, private, and civil society partners, including the Governments of Mexico, Colombia, Kenya, and Senegal; and organizations such as CIVICUS, the ONE Campaign, the Hewlett Foundation, and the World Bank Group, to form the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data. Signatories to the Global Partnership agree to take action to fill critical gaps in sustainable development data through existing and new data sources, and to invest in capacity building so data can be analyzed and used. PEPFAR will provide $3 million as part of a consortium of funders to help support this initiative.
We are also partnering with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to invest $21.8 million in sparking sub-national and national multi-stakeholder Country Data Collaboratives in sub-Saharan Africa. These Data Collaboratives will improve the quality and transparency of existing data, strengthen local capacity for data analysis, and empowering individual citizens to contribute to data collection and use.
Initially, the Country Data Collaboratives will align with and support the objectives of DREAMS, a PEPFAR, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Nike Foundation partnership to reduce new HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women in high-burden areas. Further, $3 million of this commitment will be invested to support an innovation grant competition to identify and fund local and global technology partners, entrepreneurs, advocates, as well as south-to-south and regional collaborators that are best positioned to advance the work of the Country Data Collaboratives.
By the end of 2015, PEPFAR will release a range of additional data, including sub-national results and PEPFAR procurement transaction data from the U.S. Agency for International Development Supply Chain Management System. PEPFAR is also committing to report, review, and assess data investments to ensure they are more effectively building local capacity.
These new efforts build on PEPFAR’s recent data-driven innovations, from releasing 2014 program data disaggregated by age and sex to examining data down to the most granular site level to best understand the epidemic. As we advance our commitment to do the right things in the right places, PEPFAR will continue to put data at the center of decision-making to achieve the greatest impact on our investment, as we work with our partner countries to sustainably control the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The people we serve deserve nothing less.
About the Author: Deborah Birx is the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy.
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