U.S. and Rwandan governments and partners celebrate the success of the HIV/AIDS Clinical Services Program
Representatives from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Rwanda's Ministry of Health, the Rwanda Biomedical Center, FHI 360 and its partners gathered in Kigali on December 12, 2012 to celebrate the HIV/AIDS Clinical Services Program (HCSP) as the program comes to an end.
Emphasizing integrated, evidence-based approaches, HCSP aimed to increase access to quality HIV-related clinical services. The program achieved this goal by building the capacity of Rwanda's health institutions to provide comprehensive HIV prevention, care and treatment services and to manage District Health Networks. HCSP also supported maternal and child health, family planning, gender-based violence case management, and water and sanitation services. The program was awarded by USAID/Rwanda to FHI 360, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) and IntraHealth International through three separate cooperative agreements. The organizations implemented the program in different parts of the country, working closely with Rwandan governmental institutions, local organizations and other partners.
Since its 2007 launch, HCSP supported 163 health institutions in 18 districts. Through the combined efforts of FHI 360, EGPAF and IntraHealth, the project reached 450,000 women with services for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. More than 10,000 HIV-exposed infants were tested for HIV at 6 weeks of age. In addition, more than 34,000 clients, including 2,354 children, were receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) at the end of HCSP's implementation period in September 2012; 43,398 adults and 3,903 children had ever received ART under the program.
The celebration was hosted by FHI 360, EGPAF and IntraHealth, in collaboration with the Government of Rwanda and the U.S. Embassy. USAID and Rwanda's Ministry of Health opened the event, which featured remarks from FHI 360's President Emeritus, Dr. Peter Lamptey; comments from one of Rwanda's first ART patients; and presentations on HCSP's achievements. The closing ceremony included a song about HIV prevention — produced by EGPAF — performed by a popular local singer and some children. About 350 participants attended the event, including representatives from every district and health facility that implemented the program.
HCSP "has made an outstanding contribution to the response to HIV and AIDS in our country," said Rwanda's Minister of Health, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho. "We appreciate the efforts of EGPAF, FHI 360 and IntraHealth in building the capacity of districts and health care providers to expand high-quality clinical services."
FHI 360 will continue to play an important role supporting the Rwandan government with other continuing and emerging health needs both in the health and education sectors.
"We at FHI 360 are honored to have had the opportunity, through HCSP, to reinforce and expand upon the gains made under previous HIV prevention, care, treatment and mitigation projects that we have been managing in Rwanda since 1993," said Albert Siemens, Chief Executive Officer of FHI 360. "We believe that sustainability comes from building the capacity of individuals, communities and countries to address their needs. We are grateful to our strategic and implementing partners who, together, made this program a success."
Photo caption: Representatives from FHI 360 and the Rwandan government awarded certificates of appreciation to mayors representing the districts covered by the program. From left: Dr. Peter Lamptey, FHI 360 President Emeritus; Dr. Anita Asiimwe, Deputy Director General at the Rwanda Biomedical Center; Kimberly Ross, HCSP Chief of Party at FHI 360 in Rwanda; and Protais Ndabamenye, Country Director of FHI 360 in Rwanda.