One of the pioneers and leaders of AIDS treatment in Africa, Dr. Peter Mugyenyi, is on Capitol Hill this week to share stories about the impact of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in Uganda and throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
PHR and its members played a key role in the passage of an expanded and improved PEPFAR last year, and we're hosting Dr. Mugyenyi in DC as part of ongoing efforts to raise awareness about the need for more funding.
Dr. Mugyenyi leads one of the largest PEPFAR-funded treatment programs in Africa and calls the program "the greatest mission of compassion in recent history." While in DC, Dr. Mugyenyi will talk with lawmakers and opinion leaders about the urgent need to keep up the momentum with increased resources and support.
His first event will be a speech today at a major foreign policy think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies. On Wednesday he speaks at Georgetown University, where he'll be introduced by Ambassador Mark Dybul (PDF), former director of the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator (OGAC).
Throughout the week, he'll meet with key Congressional offices about PEPFAR funding and operations. He's also slated to participate in a Congressional briefing on strengthening the health care work force in Africa–a key issue in making sure that HIV treatment programs can successful in the years ahead.
It's going to be a very busy week, but in conversations with Dr. Mugyenyi last week, we know he is greatly concerned about treatment programs' reaching capacity and is ready to dive right in to everything we have planned. He's used to it. Back in 2003, Dr. Mugyenyi was summoned to Washington on a day's notice to help the White House draft the framework for PEPFAR. After the work was over, he was seated next to the First Lady for the announcement of the new program during the State of the Union address.
From his past experience, Dr. Mugyenyi knows a good deal about how Washington works, but he offers a compelling perspective that few others can match. Check back for updates on Tuesday and Thursday and we'll let you know what issues come up in his talks and meetings. When the week's over, Dr. Mugyenyi will share his thoughts about his experience and what he hopes he's accomplished.
If you'd like to read more about Dr. Mugyenyi's work in Uganda, check out his new book, Genocide by Denial: How Profiteering from HIV/AIDS Killed Millions. It's reviewed here.