Peter Mugyenyi (center), MD, with White House staffers Gayle Smith (left), senior global health advisor to President Obama at the National Security Council, and Jeff Crowley (right), director of the Office of National AIDS Policy.
Wrapping up a week of Congressional meetings and public engagements, Dr. Peter Mugyenyi and PHR staff met with Gayle Smith, senior global health advisor to President Obama at the National Security Council, and Jeff Crowley, director of the Office of National AIDS Policy. Dr Mugyenyi laid out PEPFAR's tremendous contributions in sub-Saharan Africa and the need for increased resources on the ground. We also discussed future directions in global health and the roles of PHR and health professionals in those efforts.
Earlier in the week, Dr. Mugyenyi had dinner with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and some of his colleagues where they reflected on PEPFAR's creation and successes to date, while discussing innovative interventions for a future free of AIDS.
Dr. Mugyenyi was in Washington from March 16-20 as a special guest of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR). During the week he met with more than 15 members of Congress, spoke at a Congressional briefing on health workforce shortages, and gave speeches at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Georgetown University. See audio and video links below.Dr. Mugyenyi said:
We made it abundantly clear that the AIDS situation is still escalating in Africa and that we are only reaching a tiny minority of those who need treatment, while a high number of people are still getting infected. We all appreciate the great difference PEPFAR has made in a horrible situation in sub-Saharan Africa. All of PEPFAR's good work would be undone if funding levels are not increased at this time.
Global health advocates are urging a total US commitment in 2010 of $9 billion for bilateral HIV/AIDS programs and $2.7 billion for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
In the current economic climate, the road ahead for sustaining US commitment in global health will be rough—but the week in Washington proved once again that health professionals can keep up the momentum and gains of the last years. Please stay in touch with us and contact Jirair if you want to be more involved in our work: jratevosian [at] phrusa [d0t] org.