Friday, November 30, 2012

American People Partner with Tanzanians Against HIV/AIDS

Ambassador Alfonso Lenhardt launching the "Get Back to Treatment" campaign with Iringa Regional Commissioner Dr. Christine Ishengoma in September. Launched in Iringa in September 2012 and sponsored by the American People, the goal of the campaign was to reach out to and find the missing People Living with HIV(PLHIV) who had stopped treatment and bring those patients back to treatment. 

 Every year on December 1, the global community commemorates World AIDS Day. It is a day to reflect on lives lost, and lives forever changed, as a result of AIDS. It is also an opportunity to pay tribute to more than 34 million people living with HIV worldwide. Today, we celebrate those lives saved and improved in Tanzania and recommit to the fight against AIDS. 

 We also acknowledge the tremendous progress the world has made in the last 30 years through research and scientific innovations in this fight. On July 23, 2012 United States Secretary of State Clinton announced that the United States President's Plan For Emergency AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) would deliver a blueprint for the next phase of U.S. efforts on global AIDS “For our part, PEPFAR will remain at the center of America’s commitment to an AIDS-free generation… 

We want the next Congress, the next Secretary of State, and all of our partners here at home and around the world to have a clear picture of everything we’ve learned and a roadmap that shows what we will contribute to achieving an AIDS-free generation.”

 One of our lessons learned is that global health is a shared responsibility and that no country can fight AIDS alone. To succeed, it is essential that countries work together with partners such as PEPFAR and multilateral organizations like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Together, PEPFAR and the Global Fund supported over 70% of all persons on antiretroviral treatment in developing countries worldwide in 2011. 

 Here in Tanzania, we must continue to work together to increase our efforts in the response to HIV and AIDS. Everyone -- government leadership, the private sector, multilateral organizations, civil society, and faith-based organizations -- has a role to play. 

Progress toward country leadership of HIV/AIDS programs is essential for gains to be sustainable in the long term. Through PEPFAR, the United States is working closely with Tanzania to build the country’s capacity to lead, implement, and eventually pay wholly for its AIDS response with funding from the Tanzanian government, civil society and the private sector. 

 This coincides with the 2001 Abuja Declaration in which African Union countries pledged to increase government funding for health to at least 15% of the national budget. The United States is committed to our partnership with Tanzania as it moves in this direction. 

 Over the last 12 months, Tanzania has made good progress in the fight against AIDS, with the United States proud to play a supporting role. In Tanzania, the United States through PEPFAR is currently supporting life-saving antiretroviral treatment for over 364,000 men, women and children. 

 In fiscal year 2012 alone, PEPFAR directly supported more than 1.2 million people in Tanzania with care and support programs, including more than 526,000 orphans and vulnerable children. Also, its efforts around prevention of mother-to-child transmission programs have allowed more than 1.1 million pregnant women to be reached with HIV testing and counseling. 

 This progress, evidenced by millions of lives saved, is remarkable, but there is more to do. We are using scientific advances to focus our resources as effectively and efficiently as possible and to maximize the impact of our investments and save more lives. For example, studies have shown that male circumcision can diminish acquisition of HIV for men by over 60%.

 Therefore PEPFAR has increased its contribution to voluntary medical male circumcision in Tanzania eight-fold over the last three years. Prevention of mother-to-child transmission is another significant area of focus, whereby PEPFAR support has succeeded in providing prophylaxis to almost 90% of pregnant women identified as HIV-positive - protecting the health of both the mother and her child. 

 As we look to the future, the United States will continue to work closely with Tanzania and its partners to move toward a long-term response that saves even more lives. On this World AIDS Day, the American people reaffirm our partnership with Tanzanians in our common vision to work towards a Tanzania free of HIV.

No comments: