With a bigger budget expected this year, the United States of America, the principal donor to Botswana’s struggle against HIV/AIDS initiatives, recently declared it’s unwavering and prolonged commitment to the eradication of the disease in the region and globally.
Through its President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which has this year requested funding larger than in any other president’s budget since its inception in 2003, the US has plans to continue helping countries like Botswana to combat AIDS.
Since inception, America has allegedly signed 18 PEPFAR Partnership Framework agreements, including 14 with African countries. The frameworks are said to help strengthen country capacity, ownership and leadership, as well as build on successes achieved to date and ultimately save more lives.
The statement of commitment was made during a World Aids Day Press conference call with African journalists at American Embassies across Africa, Botswana included.
Ambassador Eric Goosby, US Global AIDS co-coordinator, hailed Botswana as the leading country in aggressive reforms of fighting the transmission of the diseases through the Prevention of Mother-toÔÇôChild Transmission (PMTCT). Goosby said that PMTCT is one of the most effective as well as cost-effective interventions for HIV/AIDS.
He said that PEPFAR’s Five-Year Strategy has set goals to reach 80 percent of pregnant women with HIV counseling and testing, and to provide ARV prophylaxis or treatment, as appropriate, to 85 percent of pregnant HIV-infected women in PEPFAR countries.
“By focusing on PMTCT, Botswana and parts of South Africa have had extraordinary success, reducing the likelihood of infant infection to levels similar to those found in the U.S., and reducing the significant costs associated with new infections,” said Goosby.
The US plans to maximize the impacts of its investment through PERFAR by saving lives and saving money by using more generic drugs. It’s said that by 2008, generic drugs accounted for almost 90 percent of the 22 million ARV packs purchased, increasing from 14.8 percent in 2005, and resulting in an estimated cumulative savings of $323 million.
The US also plans to change the way it ships its medicines by using water and land delivery systems instead of freight, which will cut cost down by 90 percent.
Lastly the US plans to scale up male circumcision to reach 80 percent of adult and newborn males in 14 African countries by 2015.The country believes that this initiative could prevent more than 4 million adult HIV infections over 15 years (2009 ÔÇô 2025) and this could result in cost savings of $20.2 billion between 2009 ÔÇô 2025 with an overall investment of approximately $4 billion.