A Call to Action: Success in Malawi
August 31, 2010
A mother and children in Malawi (Photo: James Pursey)
*UPDATE 9/2/10: Malawi Post covers Call to Action event
Today the Foundation and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) commemorated the conclusion of a five-year, $1.4 million project
to prevent new HIV infections in children in Malawi.
The Foundation held a reception in the capital city of Lilongwe to issue a new report
, chronicling our experiences fighting pediatric AIDS in Malawi, as well as a compelling photographic exhibition
telling the stories of people whose lives have been changed by this groundbreaking program. (For a first-hand account of the event, click here
The program was part of the Call to Action project
, started in 1999 by the Foundation to scale up services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the countries hardest hit by the virus. Over the years it was dramatically expanded through support from USAID and important private donors, eventually working in 14 countries, including Malawi
The program proved to be a dramatic success story, reaching nearly 4 million pregnant women around the world to help prevent their babies from being infected with HIV. Malawi is one example of the progress that can be made with the right resources and the cooperation of international and local organizations, and the national government.
When the Foundation started working in the country in 2001, there was not yet a national program to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Since 2005, the Foundation has worked with USAID and the Ministry of Health to establish and expand these critical services throughout the country.
Now today, nearly all maternal clinics and labor and delivery sites throughout the country are able to conduct HIV testing and counselling. More mothers are receiving the medicines needed to help ensure that children are born HIV-free, but there is still much more work to be done.
Although the historic Call to Action project has concluded, the program is transitioning to other funding in Malawi and other countries to ensure that momentum continues toward the goal of eliminating HIV in children altogether.
To learn more about our work in Malawi, you can also read about the Foundation’s two Global Health Corps fellows
currently working in Lilongwe, and the pioneering work of Foundation International Leadership Awardee Dr. Agnes Moses
, who has been a pioneer in fighting pediatric HIV/AIDS in her native country.