President Obama to Visit Tanzania

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at La General Hospital in Accra, Ghana in 2009, during his first trip to sub-Saharan Africa.

Associated Press

After taking trips to Senegal and South Africa from June 26 to July 3, President Barack Obama and his family will visit Tanzania during Obama’s second trip to sub-Saharan Africa as President. During a press conference held in Tanzania to share more details about the visit, U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania Alfonso Lenhardt said that the visits to Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania would emphasize the growing economic power of sub-Saharan Africa and the roles of the U.S. government in Tanzania’s development, and reinforce existing relationships and partnerships.

Tanzania is home to nearly 45 million people; of those, an estimated 1.6 million are living with HIV – including 230,000 children. But there have been recent successes: more than half of women living with HIV in Tanzania are receiving prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services. The number of people dying of AIDS and the number of children acquiring HIV in Tanzania is also decreasing. In addition, Tanzania is working to integrate HIV services into an overall sexual and reproductive health strategy. But poverty and a lack of access to treatment and other health services are challenging the country’s efforts to stop the AIDS epidemic.

Since 2004, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation has worked from its country office in Tanzania with local affiliates to offer PMTCT and care and treatment services to thousands of Tanzanians. At 1,369 sites across Tanzania, EGPAF has provided 2.4 million women with PMTCT services and started more than10,000 children living with HIV on antiretroviral therapy (ART) as of September 2012.

President Obama’s visit to Tanzania signals a new era in the relationship between Tanzania and the United States, but the battle against HIV/AIDS and the fight to eliminate pediatric HIV must be front and center in future discussions.

Jane Coaston is Media Relations Coordinator for the Foundation, based in Washington, D.C.