USAID and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation Mark Culmination of Landmark Program

June 21, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Robert Yule, EGPAF, 202-390-9540, ryule@pedaids.org

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

June 21, 2010, Washington, D.C. – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) recently commemorated the conclusion of the pioneering Call to Action (CTA) project, an $84 million, eight-year initiative supporting scale-up of services for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV in resource-limited settings. The Foundation has produced a report that documents the results, impact, and lessons learned during the program, available at http://www.pedaids.org/Publications/Program-Briefs/CTA_Report-06_10.

The CTA project reached close to four million pregnant women and their infants with PMTCT services in 14 countries, and delivered dramatic progress in preventing new pediatric HIV infections in the developing world. By September 2010, all of the CTA-supported countries will transition to other program funding mechanisms and support to continue these activities.

The CTA End of Project report was released at an all-day meeting at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The event convened representatives from USAID, global staff from EGPAF, and other partners, including NGOs such as PATH and Save the Children, and government officials such as the Director General of Health Services for the Lesotho Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. Panelists and participants reflected on programmatic successes and lessons from the project, and also addressed the next steps necessary to achieve the virtual elimination of pediatric HIV and AIDS worldwide.

The Foundation initiated the Call to Action initiative in 1999 with private funds as a multinational effort to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV, also known as vertical or perinatal transmission, in the parts of the world hardest hit by the AIDS pandemic. Additional financial support was provided to EGPAF by USAID and private donors, including 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.

The project’s primary financial support from USAID began in 2002 under the CTA cooperative agreement, which permitted EGPAF to expand the nascent project dramatically over eight years. The program ultimately supported more than 2,600 sites in 14 countries, and provided comprehensive and high quality services to close to 4 million pregnant women. Antiretroviral drugs for PMTCT were administered to more than 332,000 HIV-positive pregnant women to help their infants be born HIV-free.

“The support of USAID came at a crucial time and enabled the Foundation and its partners to move closer toward our goal of eliminating pediatric HIV and AIDS,” said Charles Lyons, president and CEO of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

The Call to Action project was a rapid reaction to the crisis of pediatric AIDS in the developing world, and became a major springboard for the expansion of PMTCT services – and eventually care and treatment programs – in resource-poor settings throughout Africa. 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.

Speakers at the meeting acknowledged the great progress made by CTA, but also the substantial work that lies ahead. In 2008 alone, mother-to-child transmission was responsible for nearly 430,000 new HIV infections in children. More than 90 percent of these children reside in sub-Saharan Africa, and acquired the virus from their mother in utero, during labor, or through breastfeeding.

“We must disseminate these extremely important findings and the knowledge gathered from implementation of this landmark program,” added Lyons. “By continuing to further integrate our work with maternal and child health services, we can eliminate pediatric HIV and AIDS.”

To learn more about the CTA project and its positive impact on millions of women and children worldwide, click here.

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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.