Harvard School of Public Health PEPFAR Program No Further Behind Than Other Government-Funded Aid Programs
Although the Harvard School of Public Health is behind schedule in implementing its antiretroviral drug distribution program, which is funded with a $107 million grant from the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the program is no further behind than any other relief program receiving government funding, the Harvard Crimson reports (Amlin, Harvard Crimson, 10/20). The Boston Herald on Tuesday reported that the HSPH is "dramatically behind schedule" in administering its PEPFAR grant to help place 75,000 African HIV/AIDS patients on antiretroviral drugs. The program currently is providing medication to only 1,500 patients out of a first-year treatment goal of 8,000 new patients in Nigeria. The school is treating only 200 new patients in Tanzania out of a projected first-year goal of 3,000 patients. The Herald also reported that Harvard University President Lawrence Summers is "apoplectic" about the program's shortfalls and that the shortfalls allegedly have "raised questions about the program's leadership" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/20). Mark Barnes, interim executive director of the HSPH PEPFAR program, called the Herald article "inaccurate in both spirit and letter," according to the Crimson. Barnes acknowledged that, as a result of delays in the importation of antiretroviral drugs, the program might miss its first-year targets, but he said the program has not received criticism from Harvard or the U.S. government. Summers' spokesperson Lucie McNeil denied that Summers is upset about the program. John Strahinich, the author of the Herald article, declined to comment, saying that his original story speaks for itself, the Crimson reports (Harvard Crimson, 10/20).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.