EGPAF’s Impact In Zambia
By Michelle Betton | October 22, 2013
At the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation’s (EGPAF), we adopt a comprehensive approach to eliminating pediatric HIV/AIDS. From strengthening national health systems, to providing psychosocial support to those coping with HIV infection and the loss of family and friends, our country programs have an amazing and lasting impact on the people and regions where we work.
For example, between 2001 and 2011 EGPAF provided more than 1 million HIV-positive women living in Zambia with services to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies—resulting in thousands of babies being born HIV-free. We also support the Zambian government to implement SmartCare, a program that compiles the health information of Zambian citizens into electronic records, allowing clinical staff in facilities across the country to accurately diagnose and treat all Zambians.
But it’s not always easy. Shortages of skilled health workers, stigma against people living with HIV, and low national finances to improve health systems compound the daily challenges of implementing health services. Mothers who visit EGPAF-supported clinics often travel for hours and miles with their babies to ensure they receive the care and treatment that is essential to their survival. Despite the challenges, the hard work pays off each and every time a child is born free of HIV.
And our work is far from finished. Currently, 970,000 people in Zambia are living with HIV and 170,000 of them are children younger than 15. What’s more, many children have become orphans due to HIV/AIDS -- 670,000 Zambian children younger than 18 were orphaned by HIV/AIDS-related illness in 2012. And each year, 80,000 newborn babies continue to be exposed to the virus.
Check out our new Zambia country brief to learn more about the HIV/AIDS situation in Zambia and how you can help EGPAF turn the tide against pediatric HIV/AIDS.
To access more of our resources, visit our Resources section.
Michelle Betton is EGPAF’s Associate Communications Officer, based in Washington, D.C.