December 2014

9. EGPAF-CIFF Partnership Hastens AIDS-free Generation in Zimbabwe

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Four years ago, with an estimated mother-to-child transmission rate of 28%, an AIDS-free generation in Zimbabwe may have seemed a distant dream. Now, through a visionary partnership, Zimbabwe is on track to achieve near elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV by the end of 2015.

EGPAF, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), and Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health and Child Care (MOHCC) are collaborating on a groundbreaking project — the Virtual Elimination of HIV Infection in Infants and Young Children in Zimbabwe and Beyond — which focuses on strengthening Zimbabwe’s health system through an integrated, sustainable, and cost-effective approach.

From its formation in 1988, EGPAF’s founders realized that when people and organizations pool resources, expertise, and information, progress accelerates. During a deadly pandemic like HIV, progress cannot come soon enough.

The value of partnerships is already well illustrated in Zimbabwe, where EGPAF has collaborated since 2001 with the governments of Zimbabwe, the United States, Department for International Development (UK), UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and other organizations to extend the reach of HIV prevention, care, and treatment programs. Progress has been dramatic: in 2000, 30% of expectant mothers who accessed antenatal care in Zimbabwe were HIV-positive. That percentage is now 16%.

As the percentage of infections among adults decreased, the number of new infections among babies remained alarmingly high, at an estimated 28% in 2010. EGPAF turned to CIFF, a London-based philanthropic organization, and partner in the aim to improve the lives of children in Zimbabwe, to address the crisis.

A $45 million grant from CIFF to EGPAF has yielded striking results. The Virtual Elimination of HIV Infection in Infants and Young Children project was launched in 2010 and focuses on integrating HIV services into maternal and child health platforms, and increasing access to prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV services at primary health care centers. Through this project, EGPAF and CIFF set a goal together to reduce the mother-to-child transmission rate to 12% over a five year period. By December 2013, the transmission rate had already fallen to 9%.

Zimbabwe’s New Generation: Growing up without HIV/AIDS. CIFF & EGPAF

Now Zimbabwe is on track to achieve virtual elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (defined by a transmission rate below 5%) by 2015!

Learn more about the remarkable CIFF-EGPAF partnership: Zimbabwe’s New Generation: Growing up without HIV and AIDS.

Because an AIDS-free generation is not just a dream, from November 24 through December 26, we are highlighting 25 ways that EGPAF, our partners, and every-day people are helping and/or can help make it a reality. Pediatric HIV/AIDS is solvable, but we can't do it alone. Each and every one of us has an important role to play.