The president and CEO of the Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF), Charles Lyons, is in the country on a three-day visit to assess the foundation’s progress towards supporting HIV programmes in Rwanda.
Lyons’ visit comes at a time when EGPAF is marking 20 years of leadership in the fight against paediatric AIDS around the world.
Locally the organization supports initiatives that foster HIV prevention, care, treatment, counselling, research, advocacy programmes for children, mothers and families in the University Central Hospital of Kigali (CHUK), 7 district hospitals, 37 health centres and one prison dispensary.
According to Eric Kilongi, the EGPAF’s Senior Regional Communications Officer in Africa, Lyons, together with officials from the Ministry of Health, will visit Muhima Hospital which was the first to provide HIV counselling and testing to pregnant women.
Today, the maternity annually serves over 8,000 women from around Kigali for deliveries and represents the country’s remarkable success in Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV.
“Rwanda’s remarkable progress has demonstrated that with sufficient political will, it is possible to reach more families with prevention interventions and move closer to eliminating paediatric HIV and AIDS altogether,” Lyons said.
“We have an obligation to prevent new infections to infants with proven and inexpensive interventions like prevention of mother-to-child transmission.”
EGPAF’s Country Director in Rwanda, Cornelia van Zyl, affirmed the foundation’s commitment towards having generations that are free from HIV.
“As we celebrate the Foundation’s 20th anniversary, we will continue to work with the Ministry of Health, implementing partners and community actors to ensure that children are not overlooked in the quest to deliver HIV prevention, care and treatment to all who need them.”
Lyons will also visit Muhima health centre and Nzige health centre in Rwamagana where he will speak to beneficiaries of the HIV programmes.