Senate staffers visit PEPFAR Cote d’Ivoire
In preparation for congressional deliberation on a second five-year phase of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), two U.S. senate staffers visited Cote d’Ivoire this month as part of a four-country fact-finding mission to Africa.
Shannon Smith and Mark Clack, aides to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden (D-Del.) and Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Maryland), respectively, toured PEPFAR-supported HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment sites and consulted with top Ivorian officials to gain insight into the workings, results, and challenges of the U.S.-funded initiative.
Cote d’Ivoire was the pair’s first stop on a tour that would also include Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Namibia.
President Bush has proposed a $30-billion five-year second phase of PEPFAR, the largest initiative ever against a disease. In its first five years, PEPFAR is committing $15 billion to the fight against HIV/AIDS worldwide.
In Cote d’Ivoire, one of 15 countries selected for intensive support, PEPFAR is providing $84 million this year to support the work of more than 120 partners and subpartners, from government ministries to local community- and faith-based organizations. As of April 2007, PEPFAR partners in Cote d’Ivoire were providing antiretroviral treatment for more than 36,300 people, palliative-care services to more than 44,000 people, and care and support for more than 24,000 orphans and other vulnerable children.