29 May 2010

Rwanda: EGPAF Boss Hails Health System

Kigali — The president and CEO of the Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF), Charles Lyons has commended the country's leadership that has facilitated progress of the health system citing that it this is key to achieving major goals.

Lyons made these remarks during celebrations to mark the foundation's 20th anniversary that took place on Tuesday.

In relation to the anniversary, he noted that it was appropriate to have hold in Rwanda based on the country's remarkable determination to eliminate the spread of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

"Annually, EGPAF spends about US$5 million to support various programmes that aim at controlling peadiatric HIV," Lyons said.

"Rwanda is taking full advantage of the services and technical assistance, and this is mainly because there is very strong leadership. The government is committed, so it is therefore our role to support this leadership through funding the health system".

The US Ambassador in Rwanda, Stuart Symington acknowledged the achievements of EGPAF ever since it was established by Elizabeth Glaser, whose family was affected and infected by HIV.

Symington said that over the years, Glaser's decision to touch lives through Preventing Mother-To-Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV has impacted millions.

"This is not the celebration of 20 years, but a celebration of millions who would not have been born, and if born, would not have lived. If we are to do one thing in our lives, we could do more to ensure a brighter future for Rwanda," he said.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, said that 75 percent of pregnant mothers who need PMTCT services are able to get them.

EGPAF has been supporting HIV clinical services in Rwanda since 2000. Currently seven district hospitals, the University Teaching Hospital of Kigali (CHUK), 37 health centres as well as one prison dispensary are supported by the foundation.

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