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New IOM Report Highlights PEPFAR’s Successes, Makes Recommendations For Continued Progress

PEPFAR “has saved and improved millions of lives worldwide and offered proof that HIV/AIDS services can be effectively delivered on a large scale even in countries with high rates of disease and resource constraints, says a new congressionally mandated evaluation conducted by the Institute of Medicine” (IOM) and released on Wednesday, a press release from the National Academies reports. “Moving forward, PEPFAR needs to intensify efforts to help its partner countries develop the capacity to manage their own programs, sustain the gains that have been made in controlling the HIV epidemic, and improve their citizens’ access to services, said the committee that wrote the report,” the press release continues. “Overall, PEPFAR has reset the world’s expectations for what can be accomplished with ambitious goals, ample funding, and humanitarian commitment to a public health crisis, the committee concluded,” according to the press release (2/20).

“The 10-year-old program, which is up for reauthorization this year, should prepare for yet another transition, said Dr. Robert E. Black, chairman of the Institute of Medicine evaluation committee that produced the 659-page report,” according to the Washington Times (Wetzstein, 2/20). Jen Kates, a committee member who is vice president and director of global health and HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said, “The critical issue for the future is how to sustain what’s been done,” Nature’s “News Blog” writes (Wadman, 2/20). “While our work is far from finished, we believe our best days lie ahead as we work with the global community to help countries reach the tipping point in their epidemics, and sustain their AIDS responses over time,” Ambassador Eric Goosby, head of the State Department’s Office of Global Health Diplomacy and U.S. global AIDS coordinator, said in a statement on the PEPFAR website. He added he is “establishing a PEPFAR Interagency Committee that will be responsible for reviewing all of the recommendations and providing … an action plan for moving forward so that PEPFAR is best positioned to save even more lives,” according to the statement (2/20). An online, archived webcast of the report release will be available from the IOM by February 26 (2/21).

Additional coverage of the IOM PEPFAR evaluation is available from The Hill’s “Healthwatch” blog, the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog, IIP DigitalInter Press ServiceModern Healthcare Daily DoseNew York Times, and ScienceInsider.