Introducing New Local Partners in the Elimination of Pediatric AIDS at ICASA 2011
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
December 8, 2011
This week, I joined Foundation staff, partners, and fellow HIV/AIDS organizations at the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA)
, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The theme of the meeting was “Own, Scale-up and Sustain,” with many discussions focused on health systems strengthening and strategies to promote country ownership of HIV/AIDS programs. This theme showed the increasing importance of local response in combating HIV/AIDS.
Another theme of the meeting was the importance of scaling up services to eliminate pediatric AIDS, and how the global health community can improve prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) programs to ensure that the goal set by the United Nations for elimination by 2015 is achievable.
Because of this year’s themes, ICASA was the perfect setting for the Foundation to introduce three new local partners
in the fight to eliminate pediatric AIDS:
Fondation Ariel Glaser pour la Lutte Contre le SIDA Pediatrique – Côte d’Ivoire
Fundação Ariel Glaser contra o SIDA Pediátrico – Mozambique
Ariel Glaser Pediatric AIDS Healthcare Initiative – Tanzania
These three partners will continue the lifesaving work originally provided through a CDC-funded Foundation initiative called Project HEART (Helping Expand Anti-Retroviral Therapy for Children and Families), which enabled more than one million people to lead healthier lives.
As Project HEART comes to a close in early 2012, these new organizations will carry on the important work started by the Foundation, while building national capacity to execute high-quality, sustainable HIV prevention, care, and treatment programs. The organizations are also voluntarily affiliated with the Foundation and share our mission of eliminating pediatric AIDS.
This shift from Foundation-led programs to locally driven responses to the epidemic is important for a number of reasons. As local leaders, these organizations are best able to effectively respond to the epidemic in their respective countries. Using methods that are tailored to their specific communities, they can adapt successful Foundation-initiated programs into sustainable solutions in the fight against AIDS. Locally-led programs, like those managed by the new organizations, are critical to establishing country ownership and leadership in HIV/AIDS efforts.
Foundation President and CEO Chip Lyons speaks at reception
introducing the Foundation's new partners. (Photo: EGPAF)
The Foundation hosted a reception during ICASA to welcome and recognize the organizations as partners in the shared fight to eliminate pediatric AIDS. Guests included representatives of governments, international organizations, and many other key partners in the fight against the pandemic, such as: the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), UNICEF, FHI 360, the Mozambique Ministry of Health, Mothers2Mothers, the Harvard School of Public Health, ECSA Health Community, and Champions for an HIV-Free Generation.
The event generated enthusiasm about the opportunities that the new affiliated organizations have to enhance country level leadership around the elimination of pediatric AIDS. It was thrilling to see them stand on their own at this reception as independent partners in shared work to build sustainable HIV/AIDS programs at the national level.
The Foundation also discussed the new partners in a CDC-hosted panel focused on building ownership and sustainability of large-scale care and treatment programs. Dr. Paula Vaz, the executive director of Fundação Ariel Glaser contra o SIDA Pediátrico
, spoke about how the new organizations are continuing the work initiated by Project HEART and contributing to scale-up and growth of country-led HIV prevention, care, and treatment efforts.
It’s an exciting time for the Foundation, our partners, and for everyone in the HIV/AIDS community. I personally am excited about the leadership that these new organizations will provide around HIV/AIDS programming at the country level.
We are confident that the enthusiasm generated at ICASA and through this reception will strengthen partnerships and build even more momentum toward the elimination of pediatric HIV and AIDS.
Stephanie Calves is the Foundation’s Senior Capacity Building Officer based in Washington, D.C.