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US Increases Funds For HIV/AIDS Fight In Cameroon 

By Leocadia Bongben

The US Government has invested in the fight against HIV/AIDS with the aim that children born by 2015 in Cameroon are HIV-free. Within this perspective, the US Government has provided an additional funding of FCFA 4.7 billion to the Cameroon Government.

The amount thus raises US financial assistance from FCFA 6.6 billion in 2011 to FCFA 11.3 billion in 2012. The Chargé d’Affaire at the US Embassy, Lisa Peterson, announced the additional funding recently during a ceremony at the Yaounde Central Hospital, presided over by the Minister of Public Health, Andre Mama Fouda. 

Peterson said the US Government is committed in supporting Cameroon’s efforts in combating HIV/AIDS by providing financial and technical assistance through the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

She said PEPFAR has funded target areas like blood safety, prevention of new infections in high-risk population, health systems strengthening and prevention of mother-to-child transmission. She commended Cameroon Government’s effort in taking bold steps by directing significant resources towards maternal and child care programmes.

Cameroon was selected among 22 countries because she is suffocating under the burden of 90 percent mother–to–child transmission, with 7,300 HIV-positive children born in 2010. The US equally donated equipment worth FCFA 28.2 million to the Yaounde Central Hospital consisting of four blood bank refrigerators, five general storage refrigerators, three monitors and three computers.

The donation came on the heels of a similar and earlier initiative at the Buea, Douala and Bamenda hospitals. The gesture, Peterson said, is in line with the US Government’s effort to support national response to HIV/AIDS by ensuring safe and reliable blood transfusion.

Improving global health for women, children and infants remains top priority for President Obama and the US Government through PEPFAR and the broader health initiative as contained in the US health vision.

The target within this vision is for countries to strive to reach 80 percent of pregnant women tested for HIV and receive their results and 80 percent of HIV-positive pregnant women receiving anti-retroviral drugs or treatment.

Prevention of mother-to-child transmission, which is a priority of PEPFAR, is expected to witness expansion of comprehensive, quality coverage and result in dramatic improvement of maternal mortality and other health outcomes and HIV-free infant survival.

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