Elton John AIDS Foundation and Mylan Donate $1 Million to Nigeria [Health & Beauty Close - Up]
(Health & Beauty Close - Up Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Mylan Inc., a pharmaceutical company, and the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) announced that they will give a combined $1 million to the Business Leadership Council for a Generation Born HIV Free (BLC) for the elimination of mother-to-child transmission (eMTCT) of HIV in Nigeria.
According to a release, Nigeria is home to 3.4 million people living with HIV, with approximately 60,000 children newly infected with the virus in 2012 alone the most of any nation in the world. For many years, the mother-to-child transmission rate there has remained at 30 percent, despite other countries from the U.S. to Botswana virtually eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
The global community, led by UNAIDS and the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), has agreed on a Global Plan to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV by the end of 2015. The plan's success depends on Nigeria, as it accounts for more than a quarter of all new infections.
In 2012, the BLC launched a partnership with the Government of Nigeria's Save One Million Lives team to catalyze data-driven, state- by-state operational plans, innovative policies and dedicated management capacity to facilitate scale up of eMTCT services in collaboration with other government entities and implementers. Their partnership has leveraged private sector resources to maximize the impact of funds already available for parts of the program like healthcare workers and medicines. The partnership was tested in Nasarawa state, which, under the leadership of the state government, PEPFAR, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, tripled the number of women being tested for HIV and doubled the number of facilities offering eMTCT services. As a result, 80 percent of women who tested HIV-positive are now on treatment to prevent their children being born with the virus. The BLC, in collaboration with many other private funders, is now supporting the Save One Million Lives team within the Government of Nigeria to apply this successful model across a dozen more high- priority states.
The $1 million commitment by Mylan and EJAF will support this scale up effort through 2015, contributing to the national goal of testing 90 percent of pregnant mothers and treating those who are HIV-positive.
Mylan CEO Heather Bresch commented, "Mylan is proud to commemorate World AIDS Day by announcing this important partnership with EJAF and BLC to reach more HIV-positive pregnant women in Nigeria. Ending transmission of HIV from mother to child is an important step in ending AIDS. Mylan's mission is to provide the world's 7 billion people access to high quality medicine, and we have long been dedicated to ensuring access to affordable, life- saving antiretroviral medicines (ARVs). In fact, today approximately 40 percent of those being treated for HIV in developing countries rely on a Mylan product, and we have helped to dramatically reduce the cost of recommended ARV treatments. While Mylan and the entire generics industry have made significant contributions toward making ARVs more affordable, we believe the focus must now be on expanding access to treatment for more people, as it has been shown that treatment truly is prevention and the path to an AIDS-free future. With commitments like this one and our recent partnership to distribute point-of-care CD4 diagnostic tests, Mylan is doing more than ever before to fight AIDS."
Elton John commented, "For over a decade, I have been meeting women living with HIV who were desperate not to pass the virus to their unborn children. As soon as proven medication was available, my Foundation began to help expand national programs to prevent such transmission. Over the past three years alone, this funding has supported 693,631 expecting mothers across 600 sites in seven countries. These programs have proven highly successful, with 96 percent of mothers staying on life-saving ARV treatment during delivery, compared to a general population figure of just 66 percent. This means we have helped enable up to 65,000 children to be born HIV free. I am delighted that our fundraising collaboration with Mylan has expanded to a grant-making one, and look forward to us making a substantial contribution not only to reducing mother-to- child-transmission of HIV in Nigeria, but helping the world reach the target of elimination of this transmission by the end of 2015."
To fund this initiative, Mylan has donated $500,000 to EJAF, which will be matched dollar-for-dollar by EJAF, with total funding of $1 million going from EJAF to the BLC. The funding will initially target two of the 13 highest priority states for eMTCT in Nigeria Plateau and Federal Capital Territory. The funds have been made immediately available to BLC in order that this work in support of the state governments and their partners can commence right away.
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