Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation Commemorate Success of Project to Prevent MTCT in HIV

August 31, 2010

Contact: Eric Kilongi, Malawi, +265 991 692-828, ekilongi@pedaids.org

Call to Action Project Report Documents Impact and Lessons for Further Scale-Up of PMTCT

August 31, 2010, Lilongwe, Malawi – The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) today commemorated the conclusion of a five year, $1.4 million Call to Action (CTA) project supporting the scale-up of services for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV in Malawi.

The CTA end-of-project report was released at a reception at the Capital Hotel in Lilongwe with a compelling photographic exhibition telling the stories of people whose lives have been changed by this groundbreaking program. The report is available at http://www.pedaids.org/What-We-re-Doing/Where-We-Are-Working/MalawiCTA_FINAL_low-8_10, and an online version of the photo exhibit is available at http://www.pedaids.org/Multimedia-Gallery/Photo-Stories/Malawi--A-Call-to-Action-Retrospective.

Since 2005, the USAID-funded CTA project has assisted the Ministry of Health of Malawi to establish and expand PMTCT services from an initial six antenatal care sites in Lilongwe to 91 PMTCT sites in the Lilongwe, Dedza, and Ntcheu districts. The Foundation, through the CTA project, has provided technical support to all 91 PMTCT sites.

More than 203,000 pregnant women have been tested and counseled for HIV through the program. Antiretroviral drugs for PMTCT were provided to nearly all who were found to be HIV-positive, and were also provided to more than 70% of HIV-exposed infants in the supported sites over the five-year period.

The Foundation began supporting efforts to prevent transmission of HIV from mothers to children in collaboration with Lilongwe Medical Relief Trust Fund Malawi in 2001 with assistance from private funds. This was at a time when no national PMTCT program existed in Malawi. By January 2010, nearly all antenatal clinics and labor and delivery sites were providing PMTCT services.

“Prevention of mother-to-child transmission offers the greatest promise of turning off the tap of new HIV infections,” said Patricia Mbetu, country director for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation in Malawi. “Support from USAID came at a crucial time when many believed we couldn’t bring simple, yet effective interventions to mothers and newborns in the resource-poor environments hardest hit by HIV, such as Malawi.”

The CTA-supported project will transition to other program funding mechanisms to ensure continuity toward the Foundation goal of eliminating pediatric HIV and AIDS in Malawi and around the world.

The Foundation initiated the Call to Action project in 1999 with private funds as a multinational effort to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the parts of the world hardest hit by the AIDS pandemic.
Additional financial support was provided to EGPAF by USAID through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and private donors, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, Abbott Fund, Boehringer Ingelheim, UNICEF, Glaxo Smith Kline, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Jewelers for Children, and others.

Under USAID funding, CTA scaled up PMTCT programs in Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Russia, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

EGPAF has also produced a report that documents the results, impact, and lessons learned during the global CTA project, available at http://www.pedaids.org/Publications/Program-Briefs/CTA_Report-06_10. The report addresses challenges to scale-up, and highlights the way forward to not only prevent new HIV infections in children, but also ensure those who are HIV-positive live long and healthy lives.


About the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation:
The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation is a global leader in the fight against pediatric HIV and AIDS, working in 17 countries to implement prevention, care, and treatment; to further advance innovative research; and to execute strategic and targeted global advocacy activities to bring dramatic change to the lives of millions of women, children, and families worldwide.