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US Doctors For Africa, in conjunction with the William J. Clinton Foundation's HIV/AIDS Initiative, has launched a pilot program to support the implementation of Tanzania's National Care and Treatment Plan 2003-2008. The plan aims to provide care for 1.2 million patients over five years, of whom some 400,000 people are expected to receive antiretroviral medication (ARVs).<1> In addition, HIV-positive persons not clinically eligible for highly active antiretroviral treatment will also be treated and monitored to track the disease's progression.
Tanzania's population of approximately 37 million is expected to grow by over 1.8 percent annually through 2015. Poverty is a major challenge: more than 59 percent of the population earns less than $2 a day and nearly 20 percent lives on less than $1 a day<2>. With an adult HIV prevalence rate of 8.8 percent, an estimated 1.6 million people in Tanzania are HIV-positive.<3> Health services are currently unavailable to the majority of those in need. With only four physicians per 100,000 people, most of whom are concentrated in urban areas, a lack of medical professionals is a major obstacle to meeting the health care needs of the population.
The goals of the pilot program are: <4>
The Tanzanian Government is implementing the plan with assistance from the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative, US Doctors For Africa and other partners. US Doctors For Africa volunteer medical professionals provide patient care and education, hire, train and manage staff, develop sustainable, site-sensitive practices, assess needs and survey patients' use of facilities and services. The first US Doctors For Africa / Clinton Foundation mission to Tanzania was sent in early March 2005. "I am pleased with the strategic partnership we've made with the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation," said Ted Alemayhu, Founder and CEO of US Doctors For Africa. "Both organizations work toward one common goal " to meet the overwhelming need for medical manpower, resources and expertise necessary to mitigate the current health crisis caused by the AIDS epidemic."
<1> Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative