Launch of Ariel Glaser Healthcare Initiative in Tanzania Marks Beginning of Transition

May 18, 2011

Contact: Mercy Nyanda, EGPAF Tanzania, +255 767-600-872

Eric Kilongi, EGPAF Kenya, +254 717-722-492

Stephanie Bowen, 202-448-8466

May 18, 2011, Shinyanga, Tanzania – The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) is proud to announce the formation of the Ariel Glaser Pediatric AIDS Healthcare Initiative (AGPAHI) in Tanzania. An affiliate of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, AGPAHI has been created as part of the Foundation’s efforts to increase and support country-led HIV programming and expand local partner capacity. AGPAHI was officially registered as a local NGO on February 21, 2011, under NGO Act Number 24 of 2002, of the United Republic of Tanzania.

“This is an important moment for the Foundation and the people of Tanzania,” said Charles Lyons, President and CEO of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. “If we are to achieve our mission of eliminating pediatric AIDS here and around the globe, these efforts must be led by national governments and local organizations who best understand the challenges and potential for progress.”

AGPAHI is governed, operated, and led by citizens of Tanzania, which will help build civil society HIV/AIDS programming and leadership, while strengthening Tanzania’s existing health systems. The Foundation will retain a close relationship with AGPAHI, and will work to ensure HIV prevention, care, and treatment services reach the communities that need them.

“The Ariel Glaser Pediatric AIDS Healthcare Initiative is initially being staffed by seconded Foundation employees, under the direction of a local Executive Director and a local Board of Directors,” said Dr. Jeroen Van’t Pad Bosch, Country Director of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation in Tanzania. “AGPAHI and the Foundation will work closely and synergistically together to guarantee a continuation of optimal support to Tanzania’s national HIV programs.”

AGPAHI has strong leadership under its Executive Director, Mr. Laurean Rugambwa Bwanakunu, who holds a Master of Public Management from Potsdam University in Germany, and has more than 17 years of experience in leading organizations in Africa and Europe.

“It is an honor to help launch this new organization,” said Rugambwa Bwanakunu. “There will undoubtedly be challenges as we make our way through this unchartered territory. I look forward to those challenges and am confident that we will be successful in our mission to create strong, locally-run health programs, and ultimately eliminate pediatric AIDS in Tanzania.”

AGPAHI is currently operating with funding from EGPAF for fiscal year 2011, under Project HEART (Helping Expand Antiretroviral Therapy to Families and Children), which is funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). AGPAHI is supporting the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in HIV care and treatment activities through the implementation of all Project HEART activities in Shinyanga Region.

AGPAHI was named after Ariel Glaser, the daughter of Elizabeth Glaser. Elizabeth Glaser contracted HIV in a blood transfusion in 1981 while giving birth to Ariel. She and her husband, Paul, later learned that Elizabeth had unknowingly passed the virus on to Ariel through breast milk and that their son, Jake, had contracted the virus in utero. Ariel lost her battle with AIDS in 1988, and Elizabeth Glaser created the Pediatric AIDS Foundation to raise money for critical HIV/AIDS research for children. Elizabeth lost her own battle with AIDS in 1994, and to honor her legacy, the Pediatric AIDS Foundation was renamed the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

In 1988, Ariel Glaser created a painting of how she envisioned the world — as a beautiful garden kept bright with sunshine and surrounded by love. Her inspiration serves as the Foundation's logo, and now as AGPAHI’s logo, representing hope for children everywhere.

Today, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation is a global leader in the fight against pediatric HIV and AIDS, and has reached more than 11 million women with services to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies. It works at more than 5,400 sites in 17 countries to implement prevention and 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.

The Foundation began supporting HIV/AIDS programs in Tanzania in 2003, and established a country office in 2004. With the assistance of the U.S. Government, as of December 31, 2010 the Foundation was supporting prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services at nearly 1,100 sites, and care and treatment services at 165 sites throughout six regions in Tanzania: Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Lindi, Mtwara, Shinyanga and Tabora.