Good morning everyone and welcome to the U.S. Embassy’s PEPFAR community grants award ceremony. I would like to offer a special welcome to our implementing partners who have travelled here from outside of Maputo. Thank you all for taking the time to be here today.
The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, also known as PEPFAR, is now entering its fifteenth year of bringing hope to millions of people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS across the world. Through PEPFAR and other programs, together with our many partners, we have achieved enormous success on HIV prevention, care, and treatment globally – and while we celebrate these achievements, we also recognize that much work remains to be done.
Many collaborative efforts have contributed to reversing the increase in infection rates and rolling back the spread of HIV/AIDS. Millions of HIV positive people are receiving treatment and living longer; orphans are receiving the care and support they need; HIV positive mothers are giving birth without transmitting the virus to their babies; and families affected by HIV/AIDS are benefiting from income-generating activities supported by the American people.
Mozambique has contributed greatly to these accomplishments. The United States has worked very closely with the Government of Mozambique, local non-governmental organizations, and the Mozambican people in the fight against HIV/AIDS, which currently afflicts about 2.1 million Mozambicans. More than 900,000 children have been orphaned by HIV. Since 2004, the United States has invested more than US$3 billion to combat HIV/AIDS in Mozambique.
The progress that has been made as a joint result of our financial investments and the time and diligent efforts of our many implementing partners is encouraging. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of Mozambicans who are alive because of PEPFAR and our partnership with the Mozambican government and civil society. Three in four Mozambicans receiving treatment receive it because of American support. When PEPFAR began fifteen years ago, only about 5,000 people were on treatment; today almost 1 million Mozambicans receive lifesaving treatment through the PEPFAR program. While an impressive increase, this is still less than 50% of all people living with HIV in the country, illustrating that much work remains to be done. Of particular concern are the many people who leave treatment after beginning it – a problem we hope all of you will help to address in your communities.
The United States provides more than $400 million in annual assistance to Mozambique related to HIV/AIDS. As part of that package, our Embassy team administers grants that support community-based care, treatment, and prevention projects. Each year, these PEPFAR community grants empower local organizations like yours to prevent HIV/AIDS transmission, spread public awareness about the disease, and provide vocational training and income generating activities for people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS. Our partners – many of whom are here today – undertake these crucial activities throughout Mozambique in the districts most severely impacted by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. We are proud to have awarded almost $773,000 to support your impressive work in areas such as providing support services for orphans and vulnerable children, offering adult care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS, and undertaking initiatives to lower adolescent girls’ and young women’s risk of HIV/AIDS infection. The work that has been done through these small grants to date underlines the unique value and role of community organizations in achieving epidemic control. As new grantees, we rely on you to continue this tradition, ensuring that the projects on which you embark directly support prevention and link people to testing, to treatment, and to services.
I take great pride in noting that the services that you all provide to communities are leading to an AIDS Free generation in Mozambique. I congratulate you all on your 2018 Small Grants Awards.