HIV/AIDS Care and Support Program Scales up HIV Services and Strengthens Health System Reports Results at Final Review Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) held its HIV/AIDS Care and Support Program (HCSP) End of Program Review Meeting in May in Addis Ababa. The meeting highlighted progress and achievements of the program since its start in June 2007. The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) provided funding for the program managed by USAID with implementing partner Management Sciences for Health (MSH).

The program targeted Addis Ababa City Administration and the four regions of Amhara, Oromia, SNNPR, and Tigray. In its four years of implementation, the program surpassed many of its targets. In the 550 health centers, of which 394 provide anti-retroviral therapy (ART), over 88,000 people are currently receiving ART. In 2010 alone, nearly 3,500,000 people were counseled and tested for HIV and received their results.  Over the program’s four years, HCSP trained over 22,000 clinical and 11,000 non-clinical health providers.

At the event, USAID Mission Director Thomas Staal observed: “Partnerships have played a pivotal role in the success of Ethiopia’s overall efforts in scaling up HIV services. Only through partnerships can we ensure a continuum of care that links services provided at health centers to services offered at hospitals, and those provided in the community and at home. So while this meeting highlights the contributions of one USAID program, it is clear that many other partners have provide essential support to the Government of Ethiopia’s success in expanding access to HIV & AIDS services for its people.”

The program supported the Government of Ethiopia to successfully decentralize the provision of comprehensive HIV and AIDS services to 550 health centers.  Relying on strategic partnerships with the Federal Ministry of Health, Regional Health Bureaus, Woreda Health Offices and communities as well as national and international partners, the four-year program strengthened health systems and used a family-focused approach to promote a continuum of care that linked health centers to serve communities.

PEPFAR Coordinator, Dr. Carmela Green-Abate noted: “The decision by the Government of Ethiopia (GOE) in 2005 to make comprehensive HIV and AIDS services, including antiretroviral therapy (ART), widely available and free of charge to its population of almost 80 million restored hope to those infected and affected, especially to its poorest and most vulnerable people. PEPFAR support for the Government of Ethiopia’s efforts in addressing HIV/AIDS has changed the face of HIV/AIDS from one of despair to HIV-positive people remaining healthy, and productive members of society.”

Ethiopia is one of the largest recipients of PEPFAR money. To date, Ethiopia has received US $1.3 billion to support a comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention, care and support and treatment programs.  It is estimated that 1.2 million people currently live with HIV.  Over 225,000 HIV positive people now receive antiretroviral treatment through PEPFAR supported programs and focused prevention efforts will hopefully contribute towards fewer infections this year. PEPFAR funding has been able to support strengthening of the health workforce, infrastructure, the laboratory and procurement systems and health financing.

Read the final report.

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