Associated Press Writer Jonathan Katz recently wrote an article entitled "From Haiti, a Suprise: Good News about AIDS." In reality, it is far from a suprise. We've long known that Haiti has been, despite numerous challenges, one of only a handfull of countries to reverse its epidemic. Treatment models pioneered here are being applied in Sub-Saharan Africa. Haiti shows us what an engaged civil society and sustained political will, backed by international support, can accomplish in even the most difficult circumstances. I am proud and hope you are as well.
Project Medishare, an NGO supporting medical and public health programming on Haiti's Central Plateau, has been awarded a $1.25 million grant through the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The award, which is focused on HIV/AIDS prevention activities, is part of a $4.8 million grant to Cross International, a South Florida-based interdenominational Christian humanitarian agency. Cross International has posted an announcement on their website as well.
Monday marked the 20th global observance of World AIDS Day. Each year, this date provides an opportunity to reflect on what has been accomplished and what remains to be done. Haiti's significant and under recognized progress in its struggle against HIV/AIDS continues. In fact, Haiti's successes have been replicated in numerous countries throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. This is something that we can all be proud of. Below are some thoughts concerning World AIDS Day 2008.
Below is a blog we received concerning International Action's campaign to make access to clean water a reality throughout Port au Prince. Their approach is to provide cost effective tablet chlorinators and to build the capacity of community members to manage them. After reading the blog below, take a look at their website and this short video clip about their work. If you would like to stay updated, you can also sign up for their e-newsletter. There are ample opportunities to support their work whether as a donor, an intern, or a volunteer.
The XVII International International AIDS Conference will take place in Mexico City from August 3-8. This promises to be interesting given that the The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), already the largest initiative ever devoted to a single disease, was reauthorized and expanded to $48 billion over the next five years. The Kaiser Family Foundation will be webcasting many portions of the conference. You will also be able to read summaries of each day's events here.
Haiti is the country most affected by HIV/AIDS in the Western Hemisphere. That having been said, Haiti is also one of only a handfull of countries to have halted and reversed a generalized epidemic. This is something to be proud of. Credit mainly goes to Haitian civil society but also to national and international non-governmental organizations as well as commited government officials. The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria have, in different ways, both helped accelerate progress.
We often write about the remarkable gains that Haiti has made in halting and reversing HIV/AIDS. It is a story that deserves to be told and heard more often. Haiti's own Partners in Health (PIH) is taking what it has learned in Haiti and using it to make a difference in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa. Lesotho may be the biggest challenge the organization has faced yet, but they are clearly up to it. Africa continues to be a source of inspiration and strength to many Haitians but it is not a one sided relationship. Through PIH, Haiti is giving back.
Germany recently announced that it would contribute an additional eight million Euros to CARICOM in support of its efforts to fight HIV/AIDS in the Carribean - broadly known as the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean or PANCAP for short. These funds will support HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment programs throughout the Caribbean, including Haiti.
Haiti is a proud member of what is still a fairly small club - countries with generalized HIV/AIDS epidemics that have been able to not only halt it, but reverse it. This is not a fluke - the involvement of the Haitan civil society, government, and the support of the international community has made a measurable difference. Their successes in treatment have been applied in other countries such as Rwanda, Lesotho, and Malawi. Success can be contagious, and Haiti's results have inspired other countries.
As World AIDS Day fast approaches, now is a good time for us to pause and reflect what has been accomplished in 2007, what we've learned, and what still needs to be done.