WASHINGTON, July 1, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The United States is the world’s leading donor in global health. We are strongly committed to working with partner nations to reach our goal of an AIDS-free generation, to ending preventable child and maternal deaths, and to supporting countries as they work to provide for the health of their own citizens.
Since 2008, the United States has tripled the number of people directly supported by the President’s Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) with lifesaving treatment for AIDS. Our efforts have contributed to a 16% decline in under-five child mortality in 24 priority countries, and we have been a key multilateral partner on strengthening the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization.
We will continue to work with our partners and Allies around the world to deliver global health results and eradicate extreme poverty. And we will continue to speak out in support of universal rights and fundamental freedoms for all, including LGBT populations, people living with HIV, and women and girls.
Progress towards an AIDS-Free Generation
The United States is committed to turning the tide on HIV/AIDS. In June 2013, we reached the one millionth baby born HIV-free because of PEPFAR support. In Fiscal Year 2012 alone, PEPFAR’s investments meant that over 230,000 babies were born HIV-free. In sub-Saharan Africa, the number of AIDS-related deaths decreased by 32% from 2005 to 2011, and the number of new HIV infections fell by 33% from 2001 to 2011.
During this same period, PEPFAR also supported over one million voluntary medical male circumcisions, and provided HIV testing and counseling for more than 46 million people. Today, we are announcing an additional $10 million to support South Africa’s ongoing efforts to expand voluntary medical male circumcision services, which reduces men’s risk of becoming infected with HIV by approximately 60%.
We are delivering on the President’s 2011 commitment to support 6 million people on antiretroviral treatment (ART) by the end of 2013, and are working to increase the impact and sustainability of our investments. The number of people in Africa receiving antiretroviral treatment has increased from less than 1 million in 2005 to 7.1 million in 2012, with nearly 1 million added in the last year alone. PEPFAR directly supports more than 5.1 million people with lifesaving ART, up from 1.7 million in 2008.
South Africa, for example, is rapidly scaling up access to HIV treatment, with a 20% increase in the number of people receiving therapy from 2011-2012 alone. Sixteen countries—Botswana, Ghana, Gambia, Gabon, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, São Tomé and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe—now ensure that more than three-quarters of pregnant women living with HIV receive antiretroviral medicine to prevent transmission to their child.
Eleven African countries—Botswana, Burundi, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe—have reached a critical programmatic “tipping point,” where the annual increase in adults on treatment is bigger than the annual number of new adult infections.
As HIV disproportionately affects specific populations at higher risk for infection, PEPFAR works to support country-led plans that expand high-impact comprehensive programs of HIV prevention, treatment, and care services to those who are often overlooked, including men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, and sex workers.
Improving Health and Child Survival
A sustained commitment to global health by the United States, other donors, and African countries themselves has driven historic declines in childhood mortality and progress on reducing maternal mortality. U.S. investments in child survival have contributed to a 16% decline in childhood mortality and a 13% reduction in maternal mortality since 2008 in 24 priority countries receiving U.S. assistance.
The President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) is leading efforts to control malaria in Africa and has helped achieve declines in under-five mortality ranging from 16% to 50% in 12 of the original 15 PMI focus countries. Eight African countries, including Rwanda and Zanzibar – where PMI works – have achieved 75% reductions in malaria cases. In 2012, PMI funding and support protected more than 50 million people from malaria with a prevention measure (insecticide-treated bed-nets and/or indoor residual spraying), and distributed more than 43 million courses of artemisinin-based combination therapy and over 13 million rapid diagnostic tests.
The Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) program has delivered over 820 million NTD treatments to over 364 million people in 24 countries, leveraged over $4 billion in donated medicines, and is helping to control and move towards elimination of these debilitating diseases of poverty. U.S. investments are also effectively fighting infectious diseases like tuberculosis, measles and influenza, and are building the health systems that will enable governments to provide for the health of their own citizens.
The United States is further extending our efforts through multilateral partners like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI). We are the largest contributor to the Global Fund, which provides lifesaving ART to 4.2 million people with AIDS, tuberculosis treatment to 9.7 million people, and 310 million insecticide-treated nets to protect families from malaria. In addition, U.S. investments in GAVI are working to introduce new vaccines against the biggest causes of childhood mortality, and have immunized over 370 million children against vaccine-preventable diseases in the world’s poorest countries.
The White House