All of us at Asia Catalyst are thinking of you, our beloved friends, partners, allies, and colleagues. We hope this message finds you well. Staying connected and supported during this time is essential, and you should feel free to reach out for support if you need it. We are all in this boat together, and it’s a critical moment for us to, as a US AIDS activist recently wrote, “grab the wheel, and with a groaning, wide, ungainly sweep of the rudder, turn this country around as if our lives depended on it—because they do.”
Since the start, Asia Catalyst has been about protecting the most vulnerable and making healthcare a basic human right guaranteed to all. Since COVID-19 has spread worldwide, I’ve been joining with staff, partners, and allies to organize a strategy and response to keep our communities safe.
We are focused on:
* Fighting price-gouging by pharmaceutical companies by making sure COVID-19 drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines will be free, accessible, and available to all.
* Consulting the grassroots groups we work with – including those led by women living with HIV and women fighting gender-based violence – to meet the economic and social burdens that will fall hardest on them.
* Doubling down on advocacy to ensure people with HIV and people who use drugs get safer and more flexible access to opioid substitution therapy, naloxone, and safer injecting equipment while they cannot go in to doctor’s offices or harm reduction drop-in centers.
* Making sure the latest COVID-19 information, testing, services, and support are available to LGBT people, sex workers, drug users, and all those most often left out of public health initiatives.
As global activists, we will use this opportunity to bond, break out tried-and-true strategies, and come up with new ones to confront, and hopefully defeat the worst drivers and consequences of this pandemic. It’s what we do, and we are here to do it alongside you.
Below are a few resources we’ve found useful. Do not hesitate to get in touch if you have thoughts, concerns, or ideas to share as we do all we can to protect health and human rights.