Monday, December 04, 2006

Kenya Considered 'Most Successful' of PEPFAR Programs

Daily HIV/AIDS Report

Global Challenges | Kenya Considered 'Most Successful' of PEPFAR Programs AP/San Francisco Chronicle Reports
[Dec 04, 2006]

      The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief program in Kenya is "widely considered the most successful and sophisticated" of the PEPFAR programs, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports. The $200 million program provides funding, technical assistance and monitoring to 275 HIV/AIDS treatment sites in Kenya, which is the second largest recipient of PEPFAR funds, according to the AP/Chronicle. The program also provides HIV/AIDS care and support services and HIV prevention programs in coordination with the Kenyan government. The number of Kenyans receiving antiretroviral drugs through the program has increased from 343 in 2003 to 70,000, the AP/Chronicle reports. The program "was a new experience, and in Kenya it expands quickly and strongly, it was beyond the expectation of anyone," according to Aida Samir, CEO of Coptic Hospital in the capital, Nairobi. Some critics of PEPFAR say the program must focus more on HIV prevention. Richard Holbrooke, president of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, said the program might not be sustainable as more people become HIV-positive. "If the number of people who need antiretrovirals increases every year, it becomes a bottomless pit," Holbrooke said on Thursday during a visit to Nairobi, adding, "We have to turn the corner, the actual number of people with the disease needs to go down." Warren Buckingham, PEPFAR Kenya director, said the program in 2007 plans to ensure that all pregnant women in the country who visit a clinic during their pregnancy receive an HIV test and that those who test positive will receive antiretrovirals to prevent mother-to-child transmission of the virus (Tomlinson, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 12/1). 

More info: A interview with Buckingham is available online.

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