The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation(link is external) (EGPAF) is pleased to announce the launch of the new United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Providing Universal Services for HIV/AIDS (PUSH) Project in Lesotho. This five-year, $62 million dollar program will provide resources to dramatically expand comprehensive and integrated HIV/AIDS care and treatment services to children and adults affected by HIV. Utilizing a prioritized district approach, the project aims to rapidly expand service coverage to 80 percent of people living with HIV in three scale-up districts by 2018, while sustaining services across a total of six districts in the country, further advancing Lesotho’s HIV response towards achieving universal treatment coverage.
“This is a vital step on the path towards universal access to HIV treatment and care for all in Lesotho,” said Dr. Appolinaire Tiam, EGPAF-Lesotho Country Director. “This new project will allow EGPAF and its longtime partners in Lesotho to continue our work of expanding comprehensive fully integrated HIV services to every corner of this country. It enables us to not only sustain, but accelerate the incredible reductions in HIV transmission, morbidity and mortality we’ve seen in recent years. It moves us that much closer to a Lesotho where treatment is available for all.”
The Providing Universal Services for HIV/AIDS (PUSH) Project looks to continue and build upon the work of past and current EGPAF-led, USAID-funded projects in Lesotho, including the Strengthening Clinical Services (SCS) Project, which from 2010 - 2015 expanded universal access and facility coverage for adult and pediatric HIV/AIDS care services, and the current EGPAF-led $11.8 million, one year Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Service Expansion (CHASE) Project, which expanded pediatric HIV activities under the Accelerating Children on HIV Treatment (ACT) initiative, and scaled up direct service delivery in PEPFAR scale-up districts.
“USAID is very excited to continue providing support for those impacted by HIV in Lesotho,” said Cheryl L. Anderson, USAID/Southern Africa Mission Director. “We have developed this project in close partnership with the Ministry of Health and other vital care and treatment partners in Lesotho. We see this latest award as part of a unified effort towards achieving the ambitious PEPFAR and UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets, with the eventual goal of an AIDS-free generation.”
The project will support activities to rapidly increase HIV service coverage in the three U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) scale-up districts of Maseru, Mohale’s Hoek, and Mafeteng, while sustaining and improving services across the remaining districts of Butha-Buthe, Mokhotlong, and Thaba-Tseka.
The project will increase roll-out of family-centered HIV/AIDS care and treatment services across all health facilities, and aim to reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV to below 5 percent through the expansion of integrated and comprehensive PMTCT services. EGPAF’s approach relies on the use of data and evidence to guide action, identify problems, and foster constant improvement at the national, district and site level.
EGPAF will lead implementation of the project in close partnership with the Lesotho Ministry of Health (MOH), Baylor College of Medicine Children’s Foundation – Lesotho, Lesotho Network of AIDS Service Organizations (LENASO), and the Lesotho Planned Parenthood Association (LPPA).
“EGPAF will leverage our over a decade of experience as the leading implementing partner in Lesotho to maximize the lifesaving potential of this new project,” said Charles Lyons, EGPAF president and CEO. “The combination of this knowledge and lessons learned with the strength of EGPAF’s long-standing relationships with the Ministry of Health, USAID and other key partners will enable this project to finally push Lesotho past the tipping point in its HIV epidemic.”
About the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF):
EGPAF is the global leader in the fight against pediatric HIV/ AIDS and has reached more than 24 million women with services to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies. In 2015 -2016, EGPAF is supporting activities in 19 countries and more than 6,000 sites to implement prevention, care, and treatment services; to further advance innovative research; and to execute global advocacy activities that bring dramatic change to the lives of millions of women, children, and families worldwide. For more information, visit www.pedaids.org.(link is external)
About the United States Agency for International Development (USAID):
USAID is the lead U.S. government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential. Across Southern Africa, USAID programs address the HIV/AIDS crisis, mitigate food insecurity, promote trade and strengthen regional economic ties, fight climate change, support democratic processes and protect human rights.