The Clinton Foundation today signed an agreement with the government of Ethiopia to partner in scaling up Ethiopia’s national plan to combat HIV/AIDS. The Clinton Foundation will provide technical expertise and programmatic assistance to support the expansion of the national care and treatment program, particularly for children and people in rural areas living with HIV/AIDS.
As part of the Pediatric Initiative, launched in spring of 2005, the Clinton Foundation will accelerate care and treatment for Ethiopian children living with HIV/AIDS, providing a donation of pediatric antiretroviral medicines (ARVs) for over 1000 children for one year and directly providing programmatic support to pediatric programs. The Foundation will also support programs in rural areas of Ethiopia, where so many are HIV+, but few have access to treatment.
“I’m extremely pleased that my Foundation has expanded its partnership with the government of Ethiopia,” said President Clinton about the agreement. “Ethiopia has made tremendous strides to fight the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and working together we can ensure that the benefits of low-cost antiretroviral medicines reach even more of the people who desperately need them.”
“The support from Clinton Foundation is coming at a time when we are scaling up our fight against HIV/AIDS very aggressively in all three fronts: prevention, treatment and care and support,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom, the Minister of Health of Ethiopia. “The agreement with the Clinton Foundation is also unique in that it includes capacity building of the health system which is very crucial in sustaining the fight as indicated in our strategic plan. I would like to use this opportunity to thank President Clinton for his commitment to fight HIV/AIDS.”
Ethiopia has been a member of the Clinton Foundation procurement consortium since August 2004. The procurement consortium comprises over 50 countries in the developing world with access to the Clinton Foundation’s reduced prices for anti-retroviral drugs and diagnostic testing supplies. Ethiopia is the sixth African country in which the Clinton Foundation will have a permanent team.
In addition to helping scale up pediatric AIDS treatment and rural programs, the Foundation has agreed to assist the government in four other areas: a hospital management initiative, support to strengthen health care management at all levels of government, laboratory planning and expansion of lab services, and supply chain logistics.
Approximately 1.5 million Ethiopians, or 4.4 percent of the total population, are living with HIV/AIDS. An estimated 95,000 are children. The Ethiopian government has responded strongly to the national AIDS crisis, declaring HIV a national emergency in 2001. Since then, the government has introduced a reduced-cost ARV program and expanded their treatment plan with an initiative to provide ARVs to all infected Ethiopians. More than 22,000 patients are currently accessing essential antiretroviral drugs free of charge, with a national target of 100,000 patients on treatment by the end of 2006.
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