Foundation Releases Report on Achievements of Project HEART, a Program to Expand HIV Prevention
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Robert Yule, 202-448-8456, email@example.com
PEPFAR-Funded Program Dramatically Scaled Up HIV Services in Five Countries over Eight Years
January 23, 2012, Washington, D.C. – The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) today issued a report on the achievements of Project HEART, its groundbreaking initiative to extend life-saving HIV prevention, care, and treatment to millions of people living in sub-Saharan Africa.
Through the leadership and support of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Foundation led the implementation of Project HEART (Help Expand Antiretroviral Therapy to children and families) in five countries over the past eight years.
The program was part of the PEPFAR Track 1.0 treatment initiative to rapidly scale up antiretroviral therapy (ART) through existing organizations that were already implementing programs to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT). The Foundation launched Project HEART in 2004 in Côte d’Ivoire, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia, and in 2006 in Mozambique.
The Foundation’s report – “From Emergency to Sustainability: Project HEART, the Foundation, and Eight Years of Scaling up Prevention, Care, and Treatment Services to Save Lives” – is available at http://www.pedaids.org/ProjectHEART. The website also features videos documenting the accomplishments of Project HEART and the stories behind the statistics, including testimonials of those whose lives have been transformed for the better.
Through the program, more than 1 million men, women, and children received HIV care and support, and more than half a million people started ART. By 2010, 1 out of every 10 PEPFAR-supported ART patients in sub-Saharan Africa received their treatment through Project HEART. In addition, more than 2.5 million pregnant women received HIV counseling and testing, and more than 66,500 HIV infections were averted in children through the provision of PMTCT services.
“Project HEART set specific targets, but went on to exceed them more than tenfold,” said Charles Lyons, the Foundation’s President and CEO. “It has been a game-changing program – not just in how many people have been reached with HIV prevention and treatment services, but in how people now think about ending the AIDS epidemic.”
Working with a network of more than 215 international and local partners, Project HEART dramatically improved delivery of HIV/AIDS services and ultimately strengthened national health systems by:
- Supporting HIV prevention, care, and treatment services at more than 510 ART sites and 1,053 PMTCT sites throughout five countries
- Building the clinical, managerial, financial, and administrative capacity of local health providers and partners to more effectively provide HIV services
- Strengthening program and data quality
- Improving the technological and physical infrastructure of health facilities
- Providing sub-awards to local partners and the ministries of health (MOHs) at the district and provincial/regional levels, in coordination with capacity building
Project HEART’s innovative practices – most notably using a decentralized district approach, scaling up performance-based financing, and piloting new, easy-to-use technology – have served as best practices that have been authorized and disseminated by MOHs and other implementing partners.
Aligned with PEPFAR’s long-term strategy to strengthen the capacity and program ownership of host-country governments and local partners, Project HEART focused on strengthening existing systems and tailoring programs to the individual needs of each country. Starting in 2009, sustainably transitioning care and treatment activities to local partners by February 2012 became a core mandate and goal of Project HEART. To further this process, the Foundation launched three independent, locally-governed organizations in Côte d’Ivoire, Tanzania, and Mozambique in 2011.
After eight years of program implementation across five countries, significant successes and crucial lessons have come out of Project HEART, including:
- Adult enrollment in care and treatment has been rapid, but the early diagnosis and enrollment of children has been much more challenging
- Patient retention is one of the biggest challenges for mature care and treatment programs
- Program quality requires continuous self-assessment, adjustment, and improvement at the site and system level
- Health system strengthening should be approached comprehensively, focusing on supporting decentralization and building managerial, technical, operational, and administrative capacity at multiple levels within the health systems
Project HEART has demonstrated that quality HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment services can be scaled up rapidly and effectively in close coordination with host-country governments. It has also shown that targeted support to local partners for technical and operational capacity-building is necessary for ensuring the sustainability of these programs.
As the international response to the global AIDS pandemic moves from emergency to sustainability, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation looks forward to working with its local partners to expand and improve the HIV prevention, care, and treatment services critical to achieving an AIDS-free generation.
About the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
The Foundation is a global leader in the fight against pediatric HIV and AIDS, and has reached 13.6 million women with services to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies. It currently works at more than 5,900 sites in 16 countries to implement prevention, care, and treatment services; to further advance innovative research; and to execute strategic and targeted global advocacy activities in order to bring dramatic change to the lives of millions of women, children, and families worldwide.