HARARE, Zimbabwe, Jan. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American people, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched a new $12.5 million HIV/AIDS initiative in Zimbabwe. The initiative, expected to dramatically increase access for women and children to vital HIV prevention services, will be implemented by the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
The U.S. contribution to the Zimbabwe Family AIDS Initiatives, a part of the overall U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, will expand Zimbabwe's national mother-to-child transmission prevention program. It will also provide greater access to prevention and treatment services for pregnant women and infants, and undertake important operational research to identify innovative solutions to challenges that the national program still faces today. The initiative will directly support the National AIDS & TB Unit sites throughout the country, with the goal of helping 460,000 pregnant women access important anti-retroviral medications. The new initiative is also supported by other donors such as the United Kingdom's Department for International Development, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Johnson & Johnson.
During the recent launch ceremony, U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee highlighted the successful collaborative efforts supported by the US Government. "The United States will continue to join and assist Zimbabweans in the battle against HIV/AIDS," said Ambassador McGee. "It will take commitment and strong leadership to overcome the challenges that we are all facing and, together, in strong partnership, we will make a difference."
Elizabeth Glaser and its three implementing partners - JF Kapnek Trust, the Organization for Public Health Interventions and Development (OPHID), and the Zimbabwe AIDS Prevention Project - have been providing direct support to more than 330 Ministry of Health and Child Welfare health facilities, in over 24 districts of Zimbabwe. Through their programs, more than 280,000 pregnant women have gained access to services. About 34,000 women living with HIV have been identified within the program, and the majority of these women and their infants have received anti-retroviral treatments.
Only one in every three HIV positive pregnant women in Zimbabwe is currently receiving the services that can protect their babies from the virus. As a result, more than 17,300 children each year become infected in Zimbabwe. USAID's Mission Director to Zimbabwe, Karen Freemen said, "The Elizabeth Glaser program's achievements are a culmination of a multitude of efforts by the U.S. government, its partners, donors, and the thousands of health care workers whose dedication to patient care and service sustains these programs."
The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation is a worldwide leader in the fight against pediatric AIDS. To learn more about the Foundation's work in Zimbabwe, visit http://www.pedaids.org/OurWork/InternationalPrograms/Zimbabwe.aspx.
For more information about USAID and its HIV AIDS programs in Zimbabwe, visit http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/global_health/aids/Countries/africa/zimbabwe. html.
Public Information: 202-712-4810
|SOURCE U.S. Agency for International Development|
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