Sunday, January 8, 2012

$339 million for US HIV prevention

By Meluse Kapatamoyo

To curb the growing number of HIV infections in the country, the United States is to spend $339 million on HIV prevention in the year 2012.

A statement by the National Centre for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB prevention, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had begun awarding the money to state and local health departments across the US to fund HIV prevention activities this year.

The awards are part of a five-year funding cycle and represent a critical component of CDC’s new high-impact approach to HIV prevention that better aligns resources to reflect the geographic burden of the disease.

All 50 states, eight cities, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, and the six Island jurisdictions, were among the reciepients.

“With 50, 000 new HIV infections every year and tough economic environment, the need to do more with existing resources is greater than ever, “ said Kevin Fenton, M.D., director of CDC’s National Centre for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention.

He said, the approach to prevention funding was designed to focus on the places where needs were most urgent and on the programs that will have the most far-reaching impact.

"It will help us achieve the ambitious goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy with the efficiency and urgency the HIV epidemic demands.”

The funds are being allocated to individual health departments according to a formula that better matches resources to the geographic burden of HIV, as measured by the number of people reported living with HIV in each jurisdiction.

CDC is also providing the health departments with new, specific guidance for priotizing the  most effective prevention programs that will ensure that funding in many areas with heavier HIV burdens increases.

The organisation will award an additional $20 million to health departments by March 2012 as part of this funding cycle to implement innovation HIV prevention demonstration projects.

Jonathan Mermin M.D., director of CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention said, “This latest round of funding will help them lead the nation to slow, and ultimately end, the HIV epidemic in the United States-a public imperative that could finally be achieved."

America seeks to wipe-out Zambia's malaria cases

By Meluse Kapatamoyo
Zambia is among African countries that have entered into a partnership with the United States of America to combat malaria incidence in women and children, a new report has announced.
The recently released Malaria Operational Plan (MOP) Zambia, says through the Global Health Initiative (GHI), the partnership would help Zambia scale up prevention and treatment interventions for malaria, the country’s top killer which accounts for about 50,000 deaths every year.
The President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) is a core component of the GHI, along with HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis. The GHI is a comprehensive effort seeking to reduce the burden of disease and promote healthy communities and families around the world.
In December 2006, Zambia was selected as one of the benefiting countries to the five-year, $1.2 billion, PMI to rapidly scale-up malaria prevention and treatment interventions in high-burden countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Since then, Zambia has received approximately $79 million in PMI funding. But, although the country has recorded an improvement, malaria continues to be a burden and remains the major cause of morbidity and mortality in the country.
The PMI seeks to reduce malaria-associated mortality by 70 percent compared to pre-initiative levels in the 15 original PMI countries.
By 2014, PMI has committed itself to assisting Zambia achieve the following successes in populations at risk for malaria;  85 percent of pregnant women would have slept under an Insecticide-Treated Net (ITN), while a further 85 percent of  houses in geographic areas targeted for Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) will have been sprayed.
In addition, 90 percent of households with a pregnant woman or child under five will own at least one ITN, and 85 percent of women who have completed a pregnancy in the last two years will have received two or more doses of Intermittent Preventive Treatment in Pregnancy (IPTp) during that pregnancy.
Furthermore, the report states that by the same year, 85 percent of government health facilities would have Artemisinin- based combination therapy (ACTs) available for treatment of uncomplicated malaria, while 85 percent of children under five with suspected malaria will have received treatment with ACTs within 24 hours of onset of their symptoms.
It is expected that by 2014, PMI would have purchased 440,000 replacement long lasting nets (LLINs) and distributed them free-of-charge through ante-natal clinics, and the Zambian Anglican Council (ZAC) with assistance from Peace Corps Volunteers (PCV).
 About 70 percent of women in each of Zambia’s nine provinces who have completed a pregnancy in the last two years will have received two or more doses of IPTp during that pregnancy by the same year. 
 “The PMI will achieve this by increasing the demand for and delivery of IPTp through strengthened focused antenatal care (FANC) and behavior change communication (BCC) campaigns at both the community and national levels."