Building from PEPFAR to PRRR

Posted by On June 4, 2013
Ten years ago, the United States took a major step in combating the AIDS epidemic when President Bush signed the  law creating the President’s Emergency Program AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). PEPFAR PEPFAR initially committed $15 billion over five years to target HIV/AIDS. Support for PEPFAR has continued under President Obama, and to date the program has committed more than $45 billion to HIV prevention, treatment, and care. This funding has contributed to more than 8 million people receiving life-saving antiretroviral drugs and in 2012, nearly 15 million people, including over 4 million children, received HIV care and support through PEPFAR. This week, UNAIDS reported that 7.1million people are receiving ARVs in Africa! PEPFAR, along with other innovative partners such as UNITAID and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, truly transformed the way the world thinks about the HIV/AIDS pandemic. And now Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon (PRRR), and other initiatives like it, are extending PEPFAR’s legacy, and continuing the good work started by President Bush. At PRRR, we are proud to partner with PEPFAR and cherish what PEPFAR can teach us from its 10 years of ideas and best practices.  PRRR leverages the platforms and infrastructure created by PEPFAR to decrease the burden of cervical and breast cancer in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. The success of PEPFAR gives the global community hope that by learning from its blueprint for success, other health initiatives – such as PRRR – can share responsibility with host countries to combat diseases – such as women’s cancers – and save the lives of women and children around the world. Based on the lessons learnt from PEPFAR, Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon’s engagement in countries is guided by six principles: results matter, country leadership and ownership, accountability, phased approach to implementation, health systems strengthening and sustainability. Applying these principles, we have established a good working relationship with the governments of Zambia and Botswana to support the scaling-up of cervical and breast cancer services in the two countries.PRRR builds on existing healthcare programs to integrate cervical cancer prevention—including increased access to HPV vaccinations—screenings and treatment, as well as breast and cervical cancer education in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. The primary goal of the partnership is to reduce deaths from these growing women’s cancers in developing nations. Organizing members of the partnership include the George W. Bush Institute (GWBI), the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Susan G. Komen®, and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). Founding corporate and foundation members include BD (Becton Dickinson and Company), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, Caris Foundation, GlaxoSmithKline, IBM, Merck, and QIAGEN. Working together since Zambia was launched as the first PRRR country in December of 2011, the initiative, through its partners, has helped raise the profile of women’s cancer control in Sub-Saharan Africa. PRRR-supported interventions in Zambia and Botswana (launched as a PRRR country in July 2012) have screened more than 35,000 women for cervical cancer. The two countries are currently introducing HPV vaccine to young girls in a demonstration program prior to nationwide roll-out. The vaccine is capable of preventing up to 70% of cervical cancer cases in those who complete the three dose regime. As we celebrate 10 years of PEPFAR, we also look forward to 10 years of PRRR with evidence of having saved women’s and girls’ lives from cervical and breast cancer.