Benjamin Kasdan, Acting PEPFAR Ethiopia Country Coordinator
September 14, 2023
This month, PEPFAR is hosting a global “sustainability summit” with delegates from all PEPFAR countries. It will be the first time that PEPFAR brings together representatives from government, civil society, and the United States government, as well as multilateral organizations such as UNAIDS, the Global Fund, and the African Union. Together, we will develop a sustainability roadmap to track our progress in enhancing health security, improving health systems, and transforming the operational and financial sustainability of systems and programs.
This summit will kickstart a year-long process with the goal of a “sustainability roadmap” in time for World AIDS Day 2024. The summit will create an important opportunity for the governments of Ethiopia and the United States to include sustainability as a key component of overall HIV/AIDS programming in Ethiopia, ensuring no one is left behind.
Through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the United States government has made a monumental investment of over $100 billion in the global response to HIV/AIDS. This commitment is the largest ever made by any nation to combat a single disease, and its impact cannot be overstated. PEPFAR’s work has been crucial in saving the lives of 25 million individuals, preventing countless new HIV infections, and propelling progress towards controlling the HIV/AIDS pandemic in more than 50 countries, including Ethiopia.
PEPFAR has invested about $125 million (7 billion Birr) to improve the public health infrastructure in Ethiopia by supporting the construction of six regional referral laboratories, nine outpatient and maternity complex centers, a national public health training center, and ten pharmaceutical warehouses. Additionally, PEPFAR has provided support for the construction and renovation of 22 health centers, which are critical to effectively respond to emergency public health threats.
This significant financial commitment by PEPFAR demonstrates its unwavering dedication to improving healthcare for all Ethiopians. Our goal is to enhance the country’s ability to continue an effective HIV/AIDS response, address public health emergencies, and provide high-quality healthcare services to everyone who needs it. These investments will contribute to the overall strengthening of Ethiopia’s health infrastructure, ensuring a more resilient and more responsive healthcare system and paving the way for long-term sustainability.
Over the last two decades, PEPFAR has invested nearly $3 billion (Birr) in Ethiopia to provide lifesaving antiretroviral treatment (ART) for 461,296 people, including 12,784 children, accounting for 98% of the treatment offered nationally at more than 1,000 sites. PEPFAR and the Ministry of Health are working together to improve and save lives!