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October 13, 2022

Challenges and Opportunities of Financing Health and Pandemics in a Fiscal Debt and Multifaceted Crisis Environment

Hospital waiting room with green chairs

The COVID-19 pandemic has proven how fragile the world is to a global health threat. It has also put into jeopardy the trajectory of the global HIV response that was moving towards a realistic option of ending AIDS as a public health threat in 2030. Other diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis still kill millions every year, especially in the poorest countries. Addressing current and preventing future pandemics is a critical priority. However, the collision of multiple crises is placing additional financial pressure on countries, threatening the right to health especially in developing countries, and undermining health security worldwide.

This webinar discussed recent reports and action plans by several institutions that have shed light on the challenges and opportunities regarding access and quality of health and availability / affordability of policies and actions against existing and future pandemics. The highlighted reports and plans were:

  1. A Pandemic Triad: HIV, COVID-19, and Public Debt – UNAIDS​
  2. Commitment to Reduce Inequality – Oxfam 
  3. Debt Swaps Strategy – The Global Fund

In addition to the short presentations of several reports / plans, the webinar included structured dialogue between panelists and participants. John Monahan, senior advisor for global health at Georgetown University, provided the welcome remarks, and Matthew Kavanaugh, currently on teaching leave from Georgetown University to serve as deputy executive director, a.i., for policy, advocacy and knowledge at UNAIDS, moderated the discussion.

This event was co-sponsored by Georgetown University’s Global Health Institute and O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law with UNAIDS.


Jaime Atienza is the director of the Equitable Financing Practice at UNAIDS. Before joining the UN, he worked for public institutions, private foundations, and INGOs, such as Oxfam International, with a leading role in development finance matters and as an experienced team leader. He is a recognized international expert in financing for universal healthcare and education – particularly on taxation, official development assistance, debt, and other financial instruments.

Kalipso Chalkidou is head of health finance at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria and a visiting professor at Imperial College London. Previously she was director of global health policy at the Center for Global Development and professor of practice in global health at Imperial College London. She co-founded the international Decision Support Initiative to build the institutional, technical, and evidential capacity leading to better decisions for better health. Her research considers how local expertise can inform the allocation of scientific and health care resources.

Matthew M. Kavanagh (moderator) is special advisor to the executive director for policy, advocacy, and knowledge at UNAIDS, where he is responsible for the organization’s work to advance policy, law, and political change to end the AIDS pandemic. He has worked internationally for more than 20 years at the intersection of global health, politics, and law and comes to UNAIDS on secondment from Georgetown University, where he holds faculty appointments in international health and law and is a director at the O’Neill Institute for National & Global Health Law.

Max Lawson is head of inequality policy for Oxfam International. Previously, he was head of policy and campaigns at Oxfam Great Britain, focusing on humanitarian and conflict issues, financing for development, and campaigning. Lawson also worked for Oxfam as governance adviser for some years, working in over 25 countries on budgets, governance and public spending. 

John T. Monahan (welcome remarks) is senior advisor for global health to Georgetown University’s President John J. DeGioia. A Georgetown community member for many years, he holds Georgetown academic appointments as professor of medicine, senior lecturer at Georgetown Law, and senior fellow at the School of Public Policy, and he has taught courses at the School of Nursing & Health Studies, Georgetown Law, and the School of Foreign Service.