Through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded a five-year, $60 million grant (2012-2017) to Families and Communities for the Elimination of Pediatric HIV (FACE-Pediatric HIV), a locally-led consortium, to support the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare’s national Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) program. The goal of the Ministry’s program is to eliminate new HIV infections in children and improve the survival of mothers and children.
On February 13, Zimbabwean Minister of Health Henry Madzorera and U.S. Ambassador Bruce Wharton will launch this new project at Harare Hospital. The purpose of this project is to reduce the rate of mother to child HIV transmission from 14% to less than 5% by 2015, and to provide 90% of HIV positive pregnant women with life-long antiretroviral therapy. The project will reach approximately 350,000 HIV-positive pregnant women per year through continued support to approximately 90% of Zimbabwe’s antenatal care facilities.
Commenting on the importance of the program, U.S. Ambassador Bruce Wharton noted, “No country in the world can grow and develop without a commitment to improving the health of its citizens. From the U.S. to Zimbabwe, it is a fundamental government imperative to work towards ever improving health standards starting at birth. This program will address an urgent need faced by mothers across this country and give a healthy start on life to thousands of new-born babies.”
Currently, less than 80% of all HIV-positive pregnant women in Zimbabwe receive anti-retroviral prophylaxis (ARV) treatment to reduce the risk of transmitting HIV from mother to child. Challenges remain to ensure that HIV-positive mothers in need of treatment adhere to life-long anti-retroviral treatment (ART), that all infants born to HIV-positive women are tested for HIV within two months of birth, and that families receive these test results.
The FACE-Pediatric HIV Consortium is led by the local charitable trust Organization for Public Health Interventions and Development (OPHID). The Consortium includes the J.F. Kapnek Trust, the Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Information Dissemination Service (SAfAIDS), and the Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF). The FACE-Pediatric HIV Consortium brings together a wide range of technical expertise with over ten years’ experience in designing, implementing and leveraging support for HIV prevention, care and treatment.
The U.S. government, through PEPFAR and various agencies including the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), provides broad support for Zimbabwe to address HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria, and other health challenges. In addition to supporting the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, the U.S. Government is a leading provider of bilateral HIV/AIDS assistance to Zimbabwe and has committed to providing nearly US$95 million over the next year to support critical prevention, care, and treatment interventions through PEPFAR (the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief). Since 2000, the United States government has invested nearly $300 million in Zimbabwe’s fight against HIV/AIDS.
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For more information about the FACE-Pediatric HIV program, please contact Chief of Party, Ms Patricia Mbetu (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
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