Management Sciences for Health Applauds US Government for Extending PEPFAR for Five More Years

Arlington, VA—Management Sciences for Health (MSH) joins the global health community in expressing its deep appreciation to US lawmakers and the White House for their recent reauthorization of the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) for another five years.

First signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2003, PEPFAR is a US-led initiative to address the global HIV/AIDS epidemic and help save the lives of those suffering from the disease, primarily in Africa. The program funds myriad interventions through bilateral HIV/AIDS programs; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; and other tuberculosis programs. One of the greatest achievements of American bipartisanship, PEPFAR has saved approximately 16 million lives to date.

“PEPFAR is one of America’s most significant contributions to global health,” said Marian W. Wentworth, MSH’s President and CEO. “Healthy individuals contribute to their countries’ economic success and political stability; furthermore, they are critical for achieving self-reliance.”

PEPFAR leverages other donor and country efforts so that the responsibility for strengthening health systems around the world is not borne by US taxpayers alone. Its impact is far-reaching: in addition to responding to AIDS-related issues, the initiative’s focus on strengthening health systems has played a key role in responding to outbreaks of Ebola, cholera, and other infectious diseases.

The 2018 reauthorization of PEPFAR comes at a critical juncture in our global efforts to end HIV/AIDS. In 2017, PEPFAR released a new Strategy for Accelerating HIV/AIDS Epidemic Control (2017–2020). It identified 13 priority high-burden countries where PEPFAR will focus on accelerating progress toward epidemic control—a point at which the annual number of new HIV infections falls below the number of annual deaths among HIV-positive individuals, implying a decrease in the total population living with HIV.

As a part of the global community working to see the end of HIV/AIDS, MSH is dedicated to expanding HIV prevention, care, and treatment to reach marginalized, hard-to-reach populations in the most affected regions. Our work spans several African nations, including Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda. Based on a systems-strengthening approach, our focus areas include improving the use of data for decision making; integrated, quality service delivery; financing, transition, and sustainability planning; and working toward the 95-95-95 goals: 95% of people living with HIV knowing their HIV status; 95% of people who know their status on treatment; and 95% of people on treatment with suppressed viral loads.

In Malawi, through the District Health Systems Strengthening (DHSS) Project, funded by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through PEPFAR, MSH developed and supported a package of case-finding strategies that has resulted in a near two-fold increase in the number of people tested for HIV.

Also in Malawi, MSH pioneered Option B+, an ambitious test-and-treat approach for pregnant and breastfeeding women. The practice has shown dramatic results toward an AIDS-free generation. A recent study found HIV testing and treatment uptake among pregnant women is very high and mother-to-child transmission is low.

In Nigeria, MSH worked with public, private, and community leaders to deliver HIV/AIDS and TB services in 41 treatment centers in five states. With MSH’s support, the Western state of Kwara became the first in the country to establish a budget and take over services previously funded by PEPFAR.

In Tanzania, MSH is supporting development of a patient identification system to help ensure continuity of care for HIV/AIDS services and monitor the success of treatment regimens and their effectiveness toward achieving viral suppression.

Learn more about MSH’s HIV/AIDS work here

Related: 

Reaching families through index case testing in Malawi

Evaluating the effectiveness of Option B+: A national study

Developing a national health sector registry in Tanzania

A review of the impact and future of PEPFAR investments