EGPAF CEO Charles Lyons speaks in Lesotho
We are so grateful for your continued commitment to our shared mission of eliminating pediatric AIDS. As you know, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) is a global leader in the fight against pediatric HIV/AIDS, and our successes so far would not have been possible without the help of supporters like you. Working at more than 5,500 sites in 15 countries, EGPAF has provided nearly 16 million women with services to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies through our innovative program implementation, research and advocacy initiatives.
Charles Lyons, EGPAF President and CEO, recently embarked on a journey to Lesotho. He shared his experiences in an EGPAF blog post:
While in Lesotho, I witnessed the launch of the country’s first national cervical cancer center at Senkatana clinic, built to help control Lesotho’s leading cause of cancer-related deaths among Basotho women.
Only three years ago, the Kingdom – with the support of partners such as EGPAF, President’s Emergency Plan AIDS Relief and USAID – embarked on an ambitious program to ensure services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) were provided in all public health facilities. Today, these important services are provided as part of a suite of maternal child health services in all public health facilities.
The rates of cervical cancer in Lesotho are among the highest in the world as HIV positive women are four to five times more likely to develop cervical cancer than HIV-negative women.
Over time, we have learned that success in the fight against HIV requires political will and leadership in addition to resources. Through the leadership of Dr. Pinkie Manamolela, Lesotho’s health minister, and Lefu Manyokole, Lesotho Health Ministry’s permanent secretary, Lesotho has demonstrated leadership in its commitment to fight HIV and its associated diseases.
Senkatana is now set to become a national center of excellence for HIV care, tuberculosis, and reproductive health.
Seeing first-hand the progress Lesotho has made in less than three years reminds me of a statement I recently read – the greatest achievement is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving.
Now, Lesotho has embarked on a journey to protect women from one of the most preventable and treatable cancers – cervical cancer, which preys upon many women in developing countries, especially those living with HIV.
We are proud to count you as a valuable partner in Lesotho’s efforts to obliterate AIDS and join the movement to create a new generation free of HIV.
-Charles Lyons, EGPAF President and CEO
To learn more about our work in Lesotho, click here.
(Photo: Jon Hrusa/EPA, 2010)