Date: Feb. 20, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New IOM Report Highlights PEPFAR’s Successes, Calls on Initiative to Intensify Efforts to Enhance Partner Countries’ Management of Programs and to Improve Prevention
WASHINGTON — The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has saved and improved millions of lives worldwide and offered proof that HIV/AIDS services can be effectively delivered on a large scale even in countries with high rates of disease and resource constraints, says a new congressionally mandated evaluation conducted by the Institute of Medicine.
Moving forward, PEPFAR needs to intensify efforts to help its partner countries develop the capacity to manage their own programs, sustain the gains that have been made in controlling the HIV epidemic, and improve their citizens’ access to services, said the committee that wrote the report.
Even with PEPFAR’s substantial contributions to the global scale-up of HIV/AIDS services, many needs remain, the report notes, and future progress will require partner countries and donors to work together to make difficult but necessary decisions on how to allocate finite resources. As PEPFAR increases its focus on fostering countries’ ability to take on greater long-term responsibility, results may not occur as rapidly or dramatically as in the past, the committee cautioned.
“During our visits to partner countries, we repeatedly heard PEPFAR described as a lifeline,” said committee chair Robert Black, chair, department of international health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore. “People credit the initiative with restoring hope. As it moves forward, PEPFAR must continue to be bold in its vision, implementation, and global leadership.”
PEPFAR was established in 2003 through legislation that authorized $15 billion for HIV/AIDS and other related global health issues over five years. In 2008, the legislation was reauthorized, providing up to $39 billion through 2013 for PEPFAR bilateral HIV/AIDS programs as well as U.S. contributions to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. PEPFAR has supported HIV/AIDS programs in over 100 countries, with the largest share of the investment currently in 33 partner countries. As part of the reauthorization, Congress requested that IOM evaluate various aspects of the initiative, a task that IOM’s international committee of experts carried out through visits to 13 partner countries as well as the review of volumes of documentation and data. IOM previously evaluated PEPFAR in its initial implementation phase and issued a report in 2007.
Overall, PEPFAR has reset the world’s expectations for what can be accomplished with ambitious goals, ample funding, and humanitarian commitment to a public health crisis, the committee concluded. Working with a wide range of international and local partners, PEPFAR has expanded HIV testing and increased the number of people living with HIV who are receiving care and being treated with antiretroviral drugs. The initiative has trained hundreds of thousands of service providers, strengthened partner countries’ health systems, provided additional nonclinical support services for people living with HIV, and made an unprecedented investment in programs for orphans and vulnerable children living with or affected by HIV.
PEPFAR has successfully increased services to prevent HIV transmission from mothers to their children during pregnancy and birth. The initiative has become increasingly flexible over time in its approach to other prevention strategies, and it has achieved positive results by supporting data collection to better understand the factors driving the epidemic in each country and scaling up prevention programs for the general population and for populations at elevated risk. However, greater attention to a range of prevention strategies is needed, the report says. In particular, countries need to increase the focus on prevention of sexual transmission, which is responsible for the majority of new infections. PEPFAR should lead the way by supporting innovations in strategies to decrease risk factors that contribute to HIV transmission.
The committee underscored the importance of partner countries receiving support to take on greater responsibility for and management of their own HIV/AIDS programs. In recent years, PEPFAR has begun providing less direct support and more technical assistance and support for strengthening partner countries’ health systems and capacity to lead their efforts, a shift that the report deems reasonable and appropriate. PEPFAR’s guidance should reorient from prescribing specific activities to outlining key outcomes and enabling partner countries to determine how to prioritize their efforts to achieve these outcomes.
The study was sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academ of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine provides objective, evidence-based advice to policymakers, health professionals, th private sector, and the public. The Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineerin and National Research Council together make up the private, nonprofit National Academies. For more information, visit http://national-academies.org or http://iom.edu. A committee roster follows.
Christine Stencel, Media Relations Officer Luwam Yeibio, Media Relations Assistant Office of News and Public Information 202-334-2138; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
___________________________________________________________________________________________ Pre-publication copies of Evaluation of PEPFAR are available from the National Academies Press on the Internet at http://www.nap.edu or by calling tel. 202-334-3313 or 1-800-624-6242. Reporters may obtain a copy from the Office of News and Public Information (contacts listed above). Additional information is available at http://www.iom.edu/pepfar2.
INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE
Board on Global Health
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education Board on Children, Youth, and Families
Committee on Planning the Assessment/Evaluation of HIV/AIDS Programs Implemented Under U.S. Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008
Robert E. Black, M.D., M.P.H. (chair) Edgar Berman Professor and Chair Department of International Health Bloomberg School of Public Health
Johns Hopkins University Baltimore
Judith D. Auerbach, Ph.D.
Former Vice President of Research and Evaluation San Francisco AIDS Foundation
Mary T. Bassett, M.D., M.P.H.
Director for the African Health Initiative Medical Research Program
Doris Duke Charitable Foundation New York City
Ronald Brookmeyer, Ph.D. Professor
Department of Biostatistics School of Public Health University of California
Lola Dare M.D., M.Sc.
Center for Health Sciences Training, Research, and Development International Ibadan, Nigeria
Alex C. Ezeh, Ph.D., M.Sc.
African Population and Health Research Center Nairobi, Kenya
Sofia Gruskin, J.D., M.I.A.
Professor of Preventive Medicine
Keck School of Medicine;
Professor of Law and Preventive Medicine
Gould School of Law; and
Program on Global Health and Human Rights Institute for Global Health University of Southern California
Angelina Kakooza, M.B.Ch.B., M.D. Pediatrician and Lecturer
Department of Pediatrics and Child Health School of Medicine
Makerere University College of Health Sciences
Makerere University College of Health Sciences
Jennifer Kates, M.A., M.P.A.
Ann Kurth, Ph.D., C.N.M. Professor and Director
Global Health Initiatives
Anne C. Petersen, Ph.D.
Douglas D. Richman, M.D.
Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Medicine University of California
Jennifer Prah Ruger, Ph.D.
Deborah L. Rugg, Ph.D., M.A. Director
New York City
Dawn K. Smith, M.D., M.S., M.P.H.
Taha E. Taha, M.D., Ph.D. Professor and Co-Director Infectious Disease Epidemiology Department of Epidemiology Bloomberg School of Public Health Johns Hopkins University Baltimore
Kathryn Whetten, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Duke University Durham, N.C.
Catherine M. Wilfert, M.D.
Kimberly Scott Study Co-Director
Bridget B. Kelly Study Co-Director