About the Author: Ambassador Eric Goosby serves as the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, leading all U.S. Government international HIV/AIDS efforts.
This week, I had the honor of traveling to Malawi to visit with 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). I also attended the Third Southern Africa Regional Meeting of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria with Professor Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund.
The progress I observed on my visit was very encouraging.
With support from PEPFAR and the Global Fund, Malawi has provided life-saving antiretroviral therapy to over 170,000 Malawians, and supported HIV counseling and testing services for over 300,000 pregnant women. Additionally, the number of centers providing HIV/AIDS services in Malawi has increased from only nine in 2004 to 300 this year. The country is continually increasing access to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care in areas in need of services.
On Tuesday, I had the privilege of joining 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 state-of-the-art building, which will strengthen HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment efforts, was supported by the United States Government in response to a request from the Ministry. This building will house the national data repository, which will allow national data collected from all districts to be collected and 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.
Prof. Kazatchkine and I also met jointly with Government officials and visited programs jointly supported by the 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.
As I said at the Global Fund Regional Meeting, 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. The Global Fund will be a key ally in Malawi, as it is in the other countries where we are working, during this transition. Prof. Kazatchkine and I are committed to continuing to coordinate PEPFAR and Global Fund activities to ensure that resources are used efficiently and effectively. To date, our two programs have supported countries as they placed more than 3.7 million people on antiretroviral treatment and delivered prevention interventions to millions more.
Additionally, 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.
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. The U.S. Government looks forward to the accomplishments that our continuing partnerships with Malawi, the Global Fund and other global partners will make in the coming years.