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Global Strategy for the Law and Health Initiative

The Law and Health Initiative (LAHI), a division of the Open Society Institute Public Health Program, supports collaborations between health and legal practitioners with a view to advancing mutually shared goals of human rights, human dignity, and open society. LAHI both builds the capacity of health providers to use the law to advance their advocacy objectives, and supports legal practitioners in expanding their remit to include public health.

LAHI's priorities reflect strategic combinations of existing OSI work in the areas of public health (particularly HIV/AIDS, harm reduction, palliative care, Roma health, and sexual health) and the rule of law (particularly access to justice, freedom of information, clinical legal education, equality and citizenship, and budget transparency). By bringing together OSI's health and justice portfolios in a coordinated fashion, LAHI strives to contribute to a new movement for just and law-based approaches to health.

This global strategy is effective as of January 2007 and will govern LAHI's work until 2010. The five priorities identified by LAHI for this period are:

  • Integrating legal and paralegal services into health services
  • Promoting human rights in patient care
  • Supporting human rights responses to HIV and AIDS
  • Developing civil society capacity in law and health
  • Using legal strategies in health monitoring

This strategy paper elaborates on each of these five priorities and provides examples of the types of operational and grant-making work LAHI will undertake in each area.

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