HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson announced Tuesday a new partnership with the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to coordinate efforts to help prevent and control HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases in the African nation.
A Memorandum of Understanding, signed Monday in Ethiopia by HHS Deputy Secretary Claude A. Allen and Ethiopia's Minister of Health H. E. Dr. Kebede Tadesse, formalizes cooperation between HHS' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Ethiopian Ministry of Health to prevent HIV infection; improve care and support of HIV/AIDS patients; and build capacity to address the national HIV/AIDS epidemic through financial and technical assistance in partnership with communities, government, national and international organizations.
"This new partnership is critical to help prevent the spread of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria," Secretary Thompson said. "Together, these diseases claim about 6 million lives each year across the globe. The leadership of Ethiopia has been working to establish improved methods of care for their country's people, and we welcome the opportunity to support their efforts."
CDC previously worked in Ethiopia to help develop capacity for rabies vaccine production, investigating malaria in pregnancy, conducting disease surveillance and assisting in disease eradication efforts. Under the new agreement, additional plans are underway for several activities. Highlights include:
- Preventing Mother-to-Child Transmission and related care and treatment;
- Supporting voluntary HIV counseling and testing centers;
- Establishing a National AIDS Education and Training Center;
- Supporting comprehensive HIV prevention, care and treatment centers;
- Strengthening regional health bureaus and laboratories; and
- Improving evidence-based public health practice, service delivery and strengthening operational research.
In addition to holding bilateral talks with Ethiopian health officials, Deputy Secretary Allen will visit a voluntary HIV counseling and testing center at Zewditu Hospital, tour a laboratory under renovation at the Ethiopian Health and Nutrition Research Institute, and inaugurate the National HIV/AIDS Resource Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Deputy Secretary Allen's visit builds upon the Bush administration's strong support for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. President Bush's fiscal year 2003 budget includes $100 million from HHS and $100 million from USAID to support the global fund -- bringing the U.S. contribution to $500 million.
In total, the President's budget request for HHS in fiscal year 2003 for HIV/AIDS programs and activities totals $12.9 billion. Overall, the Bush administration proposes spending more than $16 billion in fiscal year 2003 to combat HIV/AIDS at home and abroad.
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