Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. It is a pleasure to be here.
During the past decade, the government of Côte d’Ivoire, with the support of development partners including the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), has made significant progress in responding to HIV. This progress is marked by the extension of the availability of prevention outreach, HIV testing, and treatment for HIV patients at private, religious, and public health facilities. To date, 998 sites perform voluntary testing, 833 sites work on the prevention of mother to child transmission, and 509 care centers located in 19 regions are supported by the American government, through the PEPFAR initiative.
However, despite this progress, Côte d’Ivoire remains one of the most affected countries in the West African region with an estimated HIV prevalence rate of 3.7 percent.
In Côte d’Ivoire’s National Strategic Plan against HIV/AIDS 2011-2015, the objectives were set to provide antiretroviral treatment to at least 80 percent of adults and 95 percent of children who are eligible by the end of the year 2015. These goals, we must remember, are in perfect line with those of PEPFAR globally.
This pilot project initiated in the private for-profit sector by the Ministry of Health and the Fight against AIDS, with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), presents a real opportunity to improve HIV services in the health sector in Côte d’Ivoire and its two components: public and private.
This pilot project has two main objectives: to strengthen the public-private partnership in the field of health and implement a cost-effective model that can be reproduced at a larger scale. This will be a great tool for advocacy and mobilization of financial resources for health.
These 15 clinics and hospitals found in 10 different suburbs of Abidjan were identified based on objective criteria to establish this network of private providers. All of the work that takes place in the fight against HIV/AIDS will be in compliance with national guidelines. This includes free antiretroviral therapy (ART) and cotrimoxazole; free HIV testing; the use of national tools for data collection; and the transmission of HIV reporting to health districts, just to name a few.
Given the application of the provision of HIV services in the private for-profit sector; the commitment of private sector actors through the Association of Private Hospitals of Côte d’Ivoire; and the expertise of PEPFAR implementing partners involved in this pilot project – Abt Associates, HAI, Ariel, EG-PAF, SEV-CI, ICAP and Aconda – there is no doubt that this pilot project will be a success and that its expansion will enable Côte d’Ivoire to achieve the goals it has set out in its strategic plan for the fight against HIV/AIDS.
It is on this note of hope that I would like to congratulate the Government of Côte d’Ivoire for all its efforts toward improving the welfare and well-being of people living with HIV throughout the nation. I would also like to reiterate the commitment of the American government to always accompanying our colleagues and friends in Côte d’Ivoire to the extent of its possibilities.