HARARE, Zimbabwe, Jan. 20, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Government of Zimbabwe's national program to eliminate pediatric HIV/AIDS has received a significant boost with an award by the London-based Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF).
The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation has been awarded the first year of a five-year $45-million USD grant to accelerate the scale-up of more effective antiretroviral regimens to reduce HIV transmission from mother- to-child in Zimbabwe and to ensure that HIV positive mothers can access treatment for their own health. The new partnership between the Children's Investment Fund Foundation and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation also aims to ensure that the lessons learned from Zimbabwe will be used to implement similar programs in other high burden countries, and to strengthen efforts to eliminate pediatric HIV/AIDS globally. A separate, additional award has been made by CIFF to independently monitor and evaluate the impact of the Zimbabwe program.
Zimbabwe was chosen for a number of reasons, but particularly because of its high rate of HIV and AIDS infections, its large unmet medical needs, and for the opportunity to build on the notable success Zimbabwe has had in reducing adult infections. More than 13% of pregnant women in Zimbabwe are HIV-positive – and many do not have access to the services they need to prevent transmission of the virus to their babies. As recently as last year, approximately 75% of women were still being offered the least effective prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV regimens, rather than the more effective combination regimens called for under the 2010 World Health Organization's (WHO) guidelines. Approximately 150,000 children under the age of 15 are living with HIV in Zimbabwe, and approximately one of every eight children die before the age of 5, most from causes related to HIV and AIDS.
"We are honored to be working with the Government of Zimbabwe and CIFF on this ambitious but achievable work," said Charles Lyons, President and CEO of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. "This strategic partnership dramatically enhances the collective work of the Ministry, DFID, and USAID to reduce maternal and infant mortality and brings us closer to our goal of eliminating pediatric AIDS in Zimbabwe. Lessons learned from this work will also provide us an established course for work in other countries in the future."
Using the new 2010 WHO guidelines as a catalyst to improve access to critical and proven HIV-prevention methods in Zimbabwe, the partnership will expand access to more comprehensive PMTCT services nationwide and optimize the quality and impact of PMTCT programs to ensure more children are born free of HIV and that HIV-positive mothers are kept alive. Emphasis will also be placed on strengthening the capacity and commitment of the existing health system at all levels to ensure an integrated, sustainable and cost-effective approach. EGPAF will closely manage, monitor and evaluate implementation to ensure maximum effectiveness, and work will also be regularly evaluated by a third party to make certain established targets are met.
"It is our mission to demonstrably improve the lives of children living in poverty in developing countries by achieving large scale, sustainable impact. Pediatric HIV/AIDS is one of the most egregious examples of how we fail to protect children. We have the know-how, technology and drugs to eliminate pediatric HIV/AIDS and keep positive mothers alive. Yet sadly there are too few, if any, programs which can empirically demonstrate virtual elimination at national scale," said Jamie Cooper-Hohn Co-Founder, President and CEO of the Children's Investment Fund. "The CIFF award to EGPAF to support the Zimbabwean national PMTCT program and to replicate the learning in other high HIV/AIDS burden countries is an attempt to show that national programs which are comprehensive in nature and which use the most effective regimens can significantly reduce pediatric AIDS and significantly reduce infant mortality. The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation's strong Zimbabwe and global teams, their broad program reach, and solid linkages with other in-country partners, provides a solid base to launch this important collaboration."
About the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
The Foundation is a global leader in the fight against pediatric HIV and AIDS, and has reached nearly 11 million women with services to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies. It works at more than 5,100 sites in 17 countries to implement prevention, care, and treatment services; to further advance innovative research; and to execute strategic and targeted global advocacy activities in order to bring dramatic change to the lives of millions of women, children, and families worldwide. www.pedaids.org
About the Children's Investment Fund Foundation
CIFF is an independent nonprofit philanthropic organization that aims to deliver large scale, long term change for children. It has three priority areas of focus: child survival, nutrition and hunger alleviation and educational attainment. CIFF's programs are global in scope with a concentration in Sub Saharan Africa and India. www.CIFF.org
SOURCE Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation