Tackling Global Health Initiatives and HIV/AIDS at the PEPFAR Roundtable

Posted by Niveen M. Mulholland, Ph.D on Nov 10, 2015 11:00:00 AM

AIDS_HIV_RibbonGlobal health initiatives work to assess, monitor, and ultimately effect positive improvements in the well-being of citizens around the world. The battle against the spread of HIV/AIDs is one that has been in the news for decades and with organizations like the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), global leaders are working together to combat this disease.

Recently, Thermo Fisher Scientific teamed up with the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU) to host a roundtable discussion between leaders in the Global Health industry and Ambassador Deborah Birx, the US Global AIDS Coordinator in charge of overseeing and leading PEPFAR. PEPFAR is widely cited as the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease in history and is one of the most successful global health programs in the world.

In this blog I’ll give some insight into the roundtable discussion and review some of the key points global health leaders are addressing for those affected by HIV/AIDS.

At the roundtable discussion, I had the distinct honor of introducing the ambassador, a world renowned expert in HIV/AIDS. Dr. Birx is widely recognized for her passion and commitment to HIV/AIDS and has made a tremendous impact during her career. Early on in her career, Ambassador Birx’s work with the Department of Defense (DoD) was focused on HIV/AIDS vaccine research. She led the Thai trial which was the first study to show that a vaccine may be effective in protecting against HIV infection.  She was a pioneer in the field at a time when funding for HIV was still difficult to come by.

As the global AIDS coordinator and special representative for global health diplomacy at the State Department, Ambassador Birx is taxed with upholding the mission at PEPFAR to deliver an AIDS-free generation with accountability, transparency, and impact. Dr. Birx discussed the importance of using data as a driver for achieving these goals. She exchanged ideas with the roundtable attendees about how the US is supporting the UNAIDS 90/90/90 target:

  • 90% of people with HIV diagnosed;
  • 90% of them linked to care;
  • 90% of them on ART and virally suppressed.

One key focus presented by Ambassador Birx is the need to combat the stigma against and discrimination of victims and patients of HIV/AIDS in Africa and other parts of the world. Ambassador Birx discussed the tremendous effort required to establish effective collaborations with host country governments, the private sector and most importantly local societal groups such as women’s organizations and faith-based support services.

Of particular importance in this mission is strengthening and maintaining sustainability of delivery systems. The supply chain, the human resources that manage it as well as health information systems are critical components of the infrastructure needed to lead the world towards an HIV-free generation. Two colleagues from Fisher Scientific, a Thermo Fisher Scientific brand, were present and discussed the supply chain support for Global Health Initiatives that Thermo Fisher Scientific provides.

In 2014 we helped contain the global health risk posed by the Ebola outbreak. To learn more about our qualified cold chain solution which transported vaccines to Uganda, download our Case Study below.

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