PEPFAR Treatment Numbers ‘Remarkable on Several Levels,’ Opinion Piece Says
The recent announcement that the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief had met its goal of "providing lifesaving drug therapy to more than two million patients -- ahead of schedule" -- is "remarkable on several levels," Jay Hein -- senior fellow at the Sagamore Institute for Policy Research and a former senior staff member for President Bush -- writes in an Indianapolis Star opinion piece. Hein writes, "First, consider that merely 50,000 people [living with HIV] across the continent of Africa received such medication five years ago when the president's plan was announced." He adds, "Second, consider that while PEPFAR was the single largest health care program aimed at a single disease in world history, it is one of the only development programs to operate with strict accountability standards."
According to Hein, "[c]onventional wisdom previously argued that African leaders were either too corrupt or too inept to deliver results in exchange for assistance. One of the most helpful outcomes of PEPFAR's success is proving how wrong conventional wisdom was on both counts." For example, the presidents in the U.S. and Rwanda "clearly have an affinity for performance and schedule and they also favor nongovernment actors," Hein writes, adding that a program established by the Indiana University School of Medicine in Kenya now provides treatment to 70,000 Kenyans at 19 locations in the country. A recent PEPFAR grant to the program will "ensure that 150,000" people living with HIV in Kenya "will be served by 2012," according to Hein. "Odds are good that this target will be met on schedule," Hein writes, concluding, "For the Kenyans served by the IU-sponsored doctors and the millions of other Africans given a new lease on life thanks to American generosity, PEPFAR is a presidential achievement that did not come a minute too soon" (Hein, Indianapolis Star, 12/11).