The global health community lost one of its strongest champions today with the death of Representative Donald Payne. Rep. Payne was a tireless advocate for humanitarian support to developing countries, particularly in Africa. He served for 25 years in Congress and was a trailblazer for public health and human rights for people worldwide.
In 2003, Rep. Payne was an original author of the legislation to authorize the creation of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). As the ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights, he remained a strong supporter of PEPFAR, and provided a vital voice in the global fight against HIV/AIDS.
Speaking for the PEPFAR family to whom Rep. Payne gave so much, I offer my sincere condolences to his family, friends, staff and constituents. While we mourn his loss, we also celebrate his legacy and honor the tremendous impact that his life’s work will continue to have on millions of people around the world, from Newark to Nairobi.