In an op-ed published this weekend by the Concord Monitor, Dr. Jodie Dionne-Odom, an IDSA member who has been working with the Center for Global Health Policy to boost support for US global AIDS and TB programs, recounted her first-hand experience seeing the power of PEPFAR at work in Africa.
“The program has accomplished much more than saving lives from HIV/AIDS,” Dr. Dionne-Odom writes in this op-ed. “Throughout the developing world, PEPFAR has fostered self-reliance by building and improving clinics and laboratories. It has strengthened drug supply and delivery systems. It has trained new health care workers who, in addition to providing HIV care, can vaccinate babies, hand out anti-malaria bed nets, and attend to other basic health needs. The impact of our tax dollars has been multiplied by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, where each dollar we have contributed has been matched by two dollars from other countries.”
She calls on Congress to provide “a major boost” to PEPFAR and the U.S. contribution to the Global Fund. “A slow-down now in U.S. global AIDS funding could compound drug shortages and treatment disruptions already threatening HIV programs in the developing world, where poor patients are at risk of losing access to their antiretroviral medications,” she writes.