In December, Ambassador Eric Goosby, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, travelled to Malawi to visit Government of the Republic of Malawi officials and civil society members and observe programs supported by the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
While in Malawi, he also attended the Third Southern Africa Regional Meeting of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) with Professor Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund.
"The progress I observed on my visit was very encouraging," said Ambassador Goosby.
"With support from PEPFAR and the Global Fund, Malawi provided life-saving antiretroviral therapy to over 170,000 Malawians, and supported HIV counseling and testing services for over 300,000 pregnant women. ... The country is continually increasing access to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care in areas in need of services," he said.
In addition to these results, Ambassador Goosby noted that the number of centers providing HIV/AIDS services in Malawi has increased from only nine in 2004 to 300 at the end of 2009.
"It is clear after my time in Malawi that the country is in a position to make large strides towards defeating their epidemic. The Malawian Government's leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS is a real example for others in the region," he said.
During this visit, Ambassador Goosby joined the United States Ambassador to Malawi Peter W. Bodde at the dedication of the new HIV and AIDS Department of the Malawian Ministry of Health. The new state-of-the-art building, which was supported by the United States Government in response to a request from the Ministry, will strengthen the country's HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment efforts. The HIV and AIDS Department will also now house the national data repository, which will allow national data collected from all districts to be analyzed in a timely manner and to produce information that will guide data-driven national health policy development.
"The facility is a product of the growing partnership between our two countries, embodied by the Partnership Framework that we entered into earlier this year," said Ambassador Goosby.
In Malawi, Ambassador Goosby also joined Professor Kazatchkine to meet with Government officials and to visit programs jointly supported by the Malawian Government, PEPFAR, the Global Fund, and other partners.
"The Global Fund is a critical funding vehicle in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and the U.S. Government is committed to continuing to work through the Global Fund and U.S. bilateral programs to support the people of Malawi in defeating this disease," said Ambassador Goosby.
Ambassador Goosby also emphasized that PEPFAR is working with Malawi and other countries around the world to transition their HIV/AIDS response from an emergency response to a sustainable one. He noted that the Global Fund will be a key ally in Malawi, as it is in the other countries where PEPFAR is working, during this transition.
"Professor Kazatchkine and I are committed to continuing to coordinate PEPFAR and Global Fund activities to ensure that resources are used efficiently and effectively," said Ambassador Goosby. "We will work together to develop and support country-level leadership, scale up proven HIV/AIDS interventions, strengthen health systems, and expand the integration of HIV/ AIDS programs through linkages with other activities supported by the U.S. Government and other partners."
To date, PEPFAR and the Global Fund have supported countries as they placed more than 3.7 million people on antiretroviral treatment and delivered prevention interventions to millions more.
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