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ViiV Healthcare Awards Grants from the Positive Action for Children Fund of 3.6m; Eliz Glaser also; Gates Funds Kids/Meternal
  Submitted by editor on July 1, 2010 - 13:30
AIDS has become a leading cause of illness and death among women of reproductive age in countries with a high burden of HIV infection. More than 1400 children under 15 years of age become infected with HIV every day, most through mother-to-child transmission. In spite of recent progress in the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT), children account for more than 10% of all new HIV infections.
The confirmation of successful projects comes following the inaugural International Fund Advisory Board meeting held yesterday in Nairobi, Kenya. The Board is comprised of independent experts in the fields of HIV, sexual and reproductive health and child health including clinicians, members of non-governmental and multi-lateral organisations and people living with HIV.
Since calling for initial grant proposals at the end of March 2010, ViiV Healthcare has received over 750 proposals from organisations in 61 countries. Spanning all continents, 12 projects have been selected by the Board to receive funding based on each projects ability to deliver well-evaluated, sustainable, community-based services and support.
Chair of the Board, Professor Catherine Peckham, Institute of Child Health in London, commented, The projects we have selected as a Board will make a real difference to communities affected by HIV. Some test new models of working which may be worthy of a wider application, meaning that their success can be realised not only during the funding phases, but hopefully for many years to come.
Dr Dominique Limet, CEO of ViiV Healthcare commented, Identifying and supporting initiatives that can help improve the lives of vulnerable populations is core to ViiV Healthcares commitment to those affected by HIV and AIDS. We hope that the support provided by the Positive Action for Children Fund will make a real difference on the ground in the communities most affected by the epidemic, improving the lives of children and families and importantly contributing to our knowledge of what really works.
The 12 projects* that have been selected will focus on two key areas. The first group of projects will focus on the strengthening and integration of primary HIV prevention, HIV services and sexual and reproductive health services leading to improved access to and continuity of services for men and women at risk of HIV or living with HIV. The projects include (listed in no particular order):
1. Ntankah Village Women Common Initiative Group, Republic of Cameroon
2. Public Health Research Institute of India
3. Partners in Health, Lesotho
4. Women Friendly Initiative (WFI), Nigeria
5. International Medical Foundation (IMF) and the National Community of Women Living With HIV/AIDS in Uganda (NACWOLA), Uganda
6. Wakiso Integrated Rural Development Association (WIRDA), Uganda
7. Miroi Growers Cooperative Society, Uganda
8. Hodi, Zambia
The second group of projects will focus on the support of infants, children and adolescents living with HIV and their families within their communities, promoting a family-centred approach. The projects (listed in no particular order) are:
9. Rajasthan Network for People Living with HIV/AIDS (RNP+), India
10. Save the Children, Democratic Republic of Congo
11. Kenya AIDS Intervention Prevention Project Group (KAIPPG)
12. IPPF and Family Health Options Kenya
* subject to agreement with grantees
About the Positive Action for Children Fund Advisory Board
The independent Fund Advisory Board membership is drawn from the global HIV sector and community with strong representation from sub-Saharan Africa. The Board will meet at least annually to consider project funding under agreed programme areas and funding priorities. Membership comprises the following representatives:
1. Professor Catherine Peckham - Fund Board Chair, Professor of Paediatric Medicine, Institute of Child Health, London, UK
2. Ayorinde Ajayi, MD MPH; Path, USA
3. Florence Manguyu, Consultant Paediatrician and IAVI Advisor, Kenya
4. Alejandra Trossero, Senior HIV Officer, International Planned Parenthood Federation, Malaysia
5. Winnie Ssanyu-Sseruma, HIV Coordinator, Christian AID, UK
6. Frika Chia Iskandar, Independent Consultant on HIV/ AIDS, previous coordinator of WAPN+, Indonesia
About the Positive Action for Children Fund
The Positive Action for Children Fund was first announced in July 2009 and builds upon the foundation of the long-standing Positive Action programme, established in 1992. With an emphasis on community engagement, ViiV Healthcares Positive Action programme will continue to support global efforts to address the challenges of HIV prevention, tackling stigma and discrimination, building capacity and treatment literacy.
Following extensive consultations with some of the sectors leading non-governmental organisations, practitioners and policy-makers in this field, the Fund focuses on grants that pursue the four elements of the World Health Organizations (WHO) strategic vision and comprehensive approach for addressing the mother-to-child transmission of HIV, under these four headings:
1. Increasing and improving primary prevention of HIV infection among women of childbearing age;
2. Delivering proper and equitable reproductive choices for people living with HIV/AIDS;
3. Interventions that prevent HIV transmission from a woman living with HIV to her infant; and
4. Improving the health and welfare of mothers living with HIV, their children and families by providing appropriate treatment, care and support.
ViiV Healthcares Positive Action for Children Fund will have a targeted spending pattern; at least 80 percent will support projects focused on sub-Saharan Africa, while up to 20 percent may be dispersed to projects focused elsewhere. To qualify, at least 85 percent of the project۪s budget must be spent in the targeted country.

ViiV Healthcare and Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation Partner to Expedite Access to ARV Treatment for Infants and Children
Posted on: Monday, 7 June 2010, 08:00 CDT
WASHINGTON and LONDON, June 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, ViiV Healthcare and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation announced a new partnership that will expedite access to lifesaving HIV care and treatment and help children live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. ViiV Healthcare has committed $2m over a two-year period to fund the partnership.
As part of a multi-pronged strategy, the ViiV Healthcare-Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation partnership will increase early detection of HIV and access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) for more HIV-positive infants and young children; strengthen government leadership and policies around pediatric HIV/AIDS; and improve the quality and use of pediatric care and treatment data to advance the effectiveness of its services.
The partnership will primarily focus on three countries with particularly high rates of HIV/AIDS - Lesotho, Malawi and Swaziland - and build upon the Foundation's existing efforts in those three countries.
The new partnership will also support advocacy efforts to address policy barriers and support the prioritization of pediatric HIV care and treatment policies in other Foundation-supported countries, including Cote d'Ivoire, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. All program activities supported by this partnership will be designed and conducted in close collaboration with host country governments and civil society organizations in order to support national ownership and increase local capacity to plan, implement, monitor and evaluate pediatric HIV services.
"ViiV Healthcare has shown tremendous leadership in the fight against HIV and AIDS, and we are honored to be collaborating with them on this critical issue," said Charles Lyons, President and CEO of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. "Our combined expertise will help save more children's lives and bring about positive change more quickly than if either of us acted alone."
"Supporting the most vulnerable populations is core to ViiV Healthcare's commitment to those affected by HIV and AIDS, namely children. In order to achieve this objective we are delighted to expand our long-term partnership with the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation in a new project to increase access to HIV care and treatment for infants and young children," said Dr. Dominique Limet, CEO of ViiV Healthcare. "Our shared vision is to scale up access to care for children in need and together I believe we can make a significant and demonstrable impact on their quality of life."
Although medical advances have virtually eliminated pediatric HIV and AIDS in the developed world, infants and young children throughout the developing world continue to become infected at staggering rates. Latest figures indicate that today, more than 2.1 million children are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, with nearly 95 percent residing in resource-poor environments. Untreated, HIV-infected infants and young children die more quickly and at higher rates. However, access to care and treatment for HIV-positive children remains woefully inadequate in many of these environments.
The partnership between ViiV Healthcare and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation specifically addresses critical gaps in current HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment programs. Despite available medicine and treatment, the majority of children living with HIV acquire the virus through mother-to-child transmission: during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding. An astounding 1,200 children are newly infected with HIV every day. Approximately one-half of these children will die before their second birthdays unless their infection is diagnosed and ART is initiated; early initiation of ART in infants reduces illness and death by 75 percent.
Antiretroviral therapy has proven successful in children, yet the majority of those in need do not receive treatment; currently, only 38 percent of children in need of ART are receiving it in low- and middle-income countries; infants and children under two years of age are much less likely to receive treatment than are older children. Barriers that impede access for children include health worker discomfort with testing and treating young children, logistical challenges with testing, limited community awareness, and national policies.
In the coming months, the partnership will support a number of critical activities including:
* Rolling out a national provider-initiated testing and counseling program focusing on infants and young children in Swaziland in collaboration with the Ministry of Health.
* Training and mentoring healthcare workers in Lesotho to increase the ability to provide child-friendly testing, counseling and comprehensive HIV care and treatment at the health center level.
* Increasing testing of infants and young children in Malawi by improving logistics and engaging community health workers to ensure those children and their caregivers receive test results and are linked to care.
* Strengthening efforts to document program outcomes and to understand what works to improve access in Lesotho, Malawi and Swaziland.
About the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation is a global leader in the fight against pediatric HIV and AIDS, working in 17 countries to implement prevention and care and treatment; to further advance innovative research; and to execute strategic and targeted global advocacy activities to bring dramatic change to the lives of millions of women, children, and families worldwide.
SOURCE Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation; ViiV Healthcare

* JUNE 7, 2010, 10:31 P.M. ET
Gates Foundation Signals New Focus on Maternal, Child Health
WASHINGTON -- The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said it will spend $1.5 billion over the next five years on maternal and child health, family planning and nutrition in developing countries, a pledge that signals a new focus for the foundation known for concentrating on vaccines and AIDS.
Melinda Gates said the foundation was taking the lead to jumpstart a global effort. She urged world leaders in the developing and industrialized world to also do their part to prevent mothers and babies from dying. "It is going to take government effort and investment," she said at a women's health conference where she made the announcement.
"Every year, millions of newborns die within a matter of days or weeks, and hundreds of thousands of women die in childbirth," Mrs. Gates said. "The truth is, we can prevent most of these deaths and at a stunningly low cost if we take action."
Mrs. Gates said she was inspired to take up the cause by the success in poverty-stricken countries like Malawi, in Africa, where the government has trained 30,000 health workers who have been crucial to lowering childhood and maternal mortality. Sri Lanka, in South Asia, has instituted policy changes that cut maternal mortality dramatically, she said.
Mrs. Gate said the bulk of the $1.5 billion would go to programs in India, Ethiopia and several other countries where death rates among mothers and children remain stubbornly high. The funds will be spent on training health workers, developing antibiotics for infections in newborns and treating post-partum hemorrhage in mothers.
Mrs. Gates cited recent studies by the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and researchers in Australia that found the number of women dying from pregnancy-related causes has dropped by more than 35 percent in the past 30 years -- from more than 500,000 annually in 1980 to about 343,000 in 2008.
She said the next several months represented "a critical window of opportunity to secure new global action." Canada, which is hosting the G8 summit in Ontario later this month, will call on donor countries to endorse a major maternal and child health initiative.
Also at the "Women Deliver" conference, Ban Ki-moon, secretary general of the United Nations, announced a so-called "joint action plan" to improve the health of women and children. The plan urges governments, civil society, the private sector and U.N. agencies, from the World Health Organization to Unicef, to provide funds and devise policies to help developing countries.
"We have had success on HIV AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis," he said in an interview. "A global partnership is required" to combat child and maternal mortality, which has been the "slowest moving" health area requiring international attention.
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