“Ten years ago today President Bush stepped into the Rose Garden to announce a $500 million program to stop the transmission of HIV passed from mothers to children during birth,” an announcement that “led the way to PEPFAR,” which Bush announced in his 2003 State of the Union address, John Donnelly, correspondent for GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog, writes in this commentary in the blog. “In the years since, PEPFAR has been credited for saving millions of lives, most of them in Africa,” he continues, adding, “For anyone who cares about the global AIDS fight, today should be a day to celebrate the saving of millions of lives in the developing world.”
U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby “discussed lessons learned from the U.S. response to the global HIV/AIDS epidemic over the past decade at an event hosted by the Brookings Institute Monday morning,” the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog reports. “While calling recent scientific advances in HIV prevention ‘game changers’ that have offered hope of an AIDS-free generation, [Goosby said] that the successful fight against the epidemic relies on recognizing AIDS-specific efforts so far as a foundation for further health gains, on country ownership, and on continuing to build ‘the shared responsibility’ of a multi-donor response,” the blog adds.
“Government assurances that the scaling back of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program in South Africa (SA) will be carefully managed to protect patients are welcome, but … [t]he reality is that the Department of Health is struggling to cope with severe medical staff shortages, financial resources that never seem to stretch far enough, inadequate infrastructure and maintenance programs, and administrative bottlenecks,” a Business Day editorial states. Though the reworking of PEPFAR funding will take place over five years “and does not entail the complete loss” of funding, “the shortfall will have to come from somewhere,” the editorial says, adding, “It will be tragic if, just as we are starting to see light at the end of the long, dark tunnel of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in SA, the gains of the past few years were to be reversed due to the loss of critical foreign funding and the government’s lack of capacity to plug the gap.”
Fierce Mobile reports on the recent announcement that PEPFAR is teaming up with the United Nations Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation and Vodafone Foundation to be a founding member of the mHealth Alliance, “a group seeking to bring health services to the most remote corners of the globe using mobile networks and technologies.” U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Eric Goosby announced the partnership during a keynote address last week during the inaugural mHealth Summit in Washington, D.C., according to the news service (Versel, 11/3).
In this Washington Post opinion piece, columnist Michael Gerson examines anti-malaria efforts in Zambia, writing, “Zambia has been the main test case for anti-malaria efforts during the last several years — a focus of funding by the U.S. government, the [Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation] and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.” He continues, “Now the Anglican Church, international aid groups and philanthropists … are attempting to fill remaining gaps in bednet coverage in remote border areas.”
The following blog posts address global AIDS issues, following World AIDS Day on December 1 and the release of the Obama administration’s “President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Blueprint: Creating an AIDS-free Generation” (.pdf) on November 29.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday announced the Obama administration’s “President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Blueprint: Creating an AIDS-free Generation” (.pdf), which calls for a combination of prevention strategies including widespread treatment, “male circumcision, condom distribution and stopping transmission from mother to child,” NPR’s “Shots” blog reports. The blog notes the document does not describe the cost of the programs (Knox/Doucleff, 11/29). “[T]he global drive for austerity in developed economies, combined with sharp arguments about U.S. government spending, points to potential difficulties” in allocating funding to HIV/AIDS programs, the Daily Beast writes (Zeitlin, 12/1). U.S. “[f]unding for bilateral AIDS was $5.082 billion in fiscal 2012, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the government is currently operating on a continuing resolution based on that amount as the fiscal 2013 budget continues to be debated,” the Wall Street Journal reports, adding, “Sequestration, should that occur, would mean an [across-the-board discretionary] 8.2 percent cut” (McKay, 11/30).
In recognition of World AIDS Day on December 1, the U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote” blog published several posts examining HIV/AIDS around the world. The following summarize those posts.
“Science is at the center of efforts to design and implement more effective preventative and care programs for HIV/AIDS set out in a blueprint published by a U.S. government initiative that fights the disease,” SciDev.Net reports, referencing the PEPFAR Blueprint: Creating an AIDS-free Generation that was released November 29. “Using science to evaluate initiatives, develop new interventions and find ways to keep people in treatment are some of the suggestions in the report,” the news service writes. “The blueprint is an attempt to take this science and translate it into policy and programs in a much more aggressive way,” David Haroz, special assistant to the principal deputy U.S. global AIDS coordinator and a co-author of the report, said, according to SciDev.Net. The news service discusses the contents of the blueprint and continues, “All actors, from regional governments to international organizations, such as the World Bank and the Global Fund [to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria], need to apply its principles if it was to have the necessary impact, [Haroz] adds” (Piotrowski, 12/7).
U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby “was named to lead a new Office of Global Health Diplomacy on Friday, the State Department said,” the New York Times reports, noting, “Goosby will continue to head PEPFAR” (McNeil, 12/15). “The Global Health Diplomacy office was announced last July as the successor to President Obama’s Global Health Initiative,” the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog writes. “Goosby will be joined in creating the Global Health Diplomacy office by Leslie Rowe, previously U.S. ambassador to Mozambique, who will be in charge of its day to day operations,” the blog notes (Barton, 12/14).